Coco Gauff reached the summit of the tennis world with her triumph at the US Open a week ago, but the teenager was the ultimate professional in her celebrations. The 19-year-old defeated Aryna Sabalenka in three sets at Flushing Meadows to clinch her first Grand Slam title and all signs point towards her winning many more in the years to come.
The American became the youngest woman to win the tournament since Serena Williams lifted the trophy in 1999 at just 17. It was an incredible achievement that cemented her status as a superstar in American sports, but she was not old enough to celebrate with a drop of alcohol.
So while Gauff toasted her victory with a glass of water, her coach Brad Gilbert revealed he cracked open a bottle of something much stronger. “We celebrated hard,” Gilbert told TMZ Sports. “She was drinking water, I had a little too much tequila.”
Gilbert, 62, coached men’s tennis stars Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray before transitioning into broadcasting a decade ago. But he was lured back to the practice court by Gauff in the wake of her shock first-round exit at Wimbledon in July.
With Gilbert offering his wisdom, Gauff has bounced back in stunning style, winning the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., and the Cincinnati Masters before her run to US Open glory. Gilbert said it was a privilege to be part of Gauff’s team.
“Coco is an incredible kid. She’s humble, she’s hard-working and her journey is just beginning,” he said.
“She would tell you, it’s just about getting better. Listen, everyone wants to do incredible things but she has a great opportunity in front of her to continue to do some great things.”
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The tournament ended in glory for Gauff and Gilbert, but the pair were involved in a fiery exchange on the court during her Round of 16 clash with Caroline Wozniacki. After taking the first set, Gauff’s game started to desert her with the former world No. 1 threatening an epic comeback.
Gilbert tried to share some advice with his pupil late in the second set, but she responded “Just stop.” Gauff eventually rallied and surged to victory in the final set. And after the match, she gave her side of the story.
“Obviously, my coaches give me the gameplan and sometimes I do tell them to chill a little bit because I like to think and figure out matches my own way,” she said. “A bit of advice helps, so I do listen and sometimes it’s a stress reaction.”
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