Coco Gauff and Franciso Lindor at the New Balance store in New York City. (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson.)
It was a busy day for teenage tennis sensation Coco Gauff, as the 19-year-old took delivered on the court during the third annual HBCU Live at the U.S. Open yesterday. The 19-year-old Gauff headlined the first match shortly after noon in Arthur Ashe Stadium and faced a younger opponent in 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva. The tennis phenom appears to have a bright future by the way she competed against Gauff. But Gauff, ranked No. 6 in the tournament, was undeterred, willing 6-3, 6-2.
Gauff, who admitted to not playing her best Monday, Aug. 28, spoke differently about last night’s performance. “I’m really happy with how I played,” she said. “Last time I played her, we had a longer match. Split sets. So today I was really trying to take advantage of when I was in the lead and continuing to be aggressive.”
Gauff also discussed HBCU Live at the US Open. “My family pretty much grew up, like, in HBCUs,” she said. “My cousins go to Bethune Cookman.”
She shared that she has gone to the FAMU and Bethune Cookman Classic, then shared more personal details.
“If I were to go to college, and I still want to, you know, at least online, in-person is not possible at this point, but I always said it had to be an HBCU. I always said, you know, if tennis didn’t take the route that it took I would have 100% would have wanted to go to an HBCU. The HBCUs are important, and having spaces where Black people can feel free to be creative and live their life is important. Having these spaces are important. If you look at the way that HBCUs started and the historical context behind it, it’s pretty incredible how far we have come and becoming one of the top institutions in the country.”
Althea Gibson, who was the first Black tennis player to win a Grand Slam title in 1956, has a sculpture dedicated to her in front of Arthur Ashe Stadium that was unveiled four years ago. Gibson is an alumna of FAMU.
Gauff will play No. 32 ranked Elise Mertens on Friday.
Taylor Townsend also played and won a singles and doubles match Wednesday, knocking off No. 19 ranked Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil in straight sets to advance to the third round. Townsend will play No.10 ranked Karolína Muchová on Friday, Sept.1.
On the men’s side, No.10 Francis Tiafoe has looked impressive in his first two matches and has yet to drop a set in his two wins. Tiafoe discussed his performance after Wednesday’s win. “Really good match,” he said. “The only part I can complain about is how I served early in the match. But I picked it up, for sure. From the back of the court, I was really solid, clinical, not many mistakes at all. I thought I played much better than my first match as an intensity standpoint.”
Tiafoe will play Frenchman Adrian Mannarino on Friday, Aug. 28
Source: Rolling Out