The 19-year-old Gauff followed in the legendary footsteps of the Venus Williams as she became the 14th American woman in the Open Era to win the US Open


The 19-year-old Gauff followed in the legendary footsteps of the Williams sisters as she became the 14th American woman in the Open Era to win the US Open. Gauff is also the first American teenager since Serena Williams to be crowned champion at Flushing Meadows.Sisters Venus and Serena paved the way for many black tennis players like Gauff as they broke barriers with the former winning seven Grand Slams – including two titles in New York.

Serena, meanwhile, became one of the greatest tennis players of all time as she won an Open Era record 23 majors – with six coming at the US Open.Tennis icon Serena took to Instagram to post a simple yet beautiful message to celebrate Gauff’s maiden major as she wrote “Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Amazing!!!!!!!! @cocogauff” across a photo of the teenager with the trophy.

Gauff acknowledged both Serena and Venus during her speech at the trophy presentation and in the post-match conference she was asked about seeing her name on the trophy alongside the greats.Crazy. They’re the reason why I have this trophy today,” she said. “To be honest, they’ve allowed me to believe in this dream. Growing up, there wasn’t too many just black tennis players dominating the sport. It was literally at that time when I was younger, it was just them that I can remember.

“And obviously more came because of their legacy. So it made the dream more believable. But all the things that they had to go through, they made it easier for someone like me to do this. I mean, you look back at the history with the Indian Wells, with Serena, all she had to go through Venus fighting for equal pay.

“It’s just like it was crazy. And it’s an honour to be in that kind of lineup as them and I’m looking at it and she’s won this a lot of times.”Before Venus and Serena Williams, there was also Althea Gibson as she was the first African American woman to win a Grand Slam at the 1956 French Open while she also won the US Open in 1957 and 1958.In recent years Sloane Stephens (2017) and Naomi Osaka (2018 and 2020) also joined the list of black players to win titles in New York.

Gauff added: “It’s an honour to be in that stat. With Althea Gibson, Serena, Venus, Naomi and Sloane. They paved the way for me to be here. I remember Sloane winning this trophy in 2017. I had lost in the finals of the Junior US Open and it was an inspiring moment for me to see her win because I grew up watching her and I’ve known Sloane since I 10 years old.

“And then, obviously, Serena and Venus. I mean, words can’t describe what they meant to me. I hope that I can continue the legacy. I hope that another girl can see this and believe that they can do it. And hopefully their name can be on this trophy too.”


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