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Teen Tennis Phenom • You Cannot Stop Coco Gauff, We All See The Greatness There

By Ricky Dimon

Coco Gauff may have lost in singles at the U.S. Open on Saturday night, but there is no stopping her from continuing to steal the headlines.

Gauff made a quick exit at the hands of defending champion and world No. 1 Naomi Osaka in their highly-anticipated third-round showdown. If you thought that meant the 15-year-old would quickly leave the court and the tennis center not to be seen again at the 2019 U.S. Open, you thought wrong.

After all, Osaka had other ideas.

Following her 6-3, 6-0 victory, the two-time Grand Slam champion from Japan invited Gauff to join her for the post-match interview. Actually, it was more like she made Gauff join her.

“She did amazing,” the fast-rising American said of Osaka. “And I’m going to learn a lot from this match. She’s been so sweet to me, so thank you for this.”

“The fact that both of us made it and we’re both still working as hard as we can, I think it’s amazing,” Osaka said, directed at Gauff’s parents. “You guys raised an amazing player.”

“She told me it’s better than crying in the shower,” Gauff said afterward. “After the match, I think she just proved that she’s a true athlete. For me, the definition of an athlete is someone who on the court treats you like your worst enemy, but off the court can be your best friend. I think that’s what she did tonight.”

That night was not the end of the U.S. Open road for the Atlanta native, as she teamed up with Caty McNally for doubles on Sunday afternoon. The recent Washington, D.C. champions treated an absolutely packed Louis Armstrong Stadium to a 6-3, 7-6(9) win over No. 9 seeds Kveta Peschke and Nicole Melichar.

“Playing on Louis Armstrong with a packed crowd, it makes us want to go out there and play again so badly,” McNally commented. “I could go out right now again and play because it was so much fun and such an awesome atmosphere to play in.”

“Same for me,” Gauff agreed. “Yeah, playing on Armstrong was really cool, and I’m glad that it was actually a lot of people. I think in general, just whether singles or doubles, we’re going to come here to compete and win. I think that’s what both of us prepared for in our matches whether individual or together.”

Both McNally–who pushed Serena Williams to three sets in the singles second round–and Gauff have done it all this week. They’ve competed. They’ve won. They’ve lost. And they’ve done it all while making positive, feel-good headlines for tennis.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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