After a dominant win during the 2019 U.S. Open, winner Naomi Osaka invited Cori “Coco” Gauff to join her in what turned out to be an extremely emotional post-game interview. While Coco was already crying, visibly upset from her less than stellar performance during the match where Osaka won straight sets 6-3,6-0, in 67 minutes, the 21-year-old, who’s currently ranked No. 1 in the world, pulled the 15-year-old budding superstar in for a hug.
At first Coco was hesitant to join in on the post-match interview saying, “I knew I would cry through the whole thing,” but fans could hear Osaka say in response, “No, you’re good. It’s better than going into the shower and crying.”
Coco thanked Osaka for being such a great mentor and competitor. While wiping away tears she said, (Osaka) asked if I could do the on-court interview with her and I said no because I knew I was going to cry the whole time, but she encouraged me to do it. She did amazing and I’m going to learn a lot from this match and she’s been so sweet to me so thank you for this. I don’t want people to think I’m taking this moment away from her.. because she deserves it.”
The united front and mutual respect between the two tennis stars was moving moment for everyone watching. Osaka, who looked incredibly strong during their match, quickly jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first set, thanked the crowd for their “amazing energy” while acknowledging that she knew their loud cheers were for Coco, whom she described as “incredible.” During the second set, Gauff was visibly frustrated, and finished the match with 24 unforced errors.
Osaka event went on to thank Gauff’s parents, Corey and Candi Gauff, for raising such a great player and young woman, both of whom were in attendance at Arthur Ashe stadium in New York on Saturday night. Osaka said,”I just want to say, ‘You guys raised an amazing player. I remember seeing you guys training in the same place. I think Coco – you’re amazing.” The two tennis starts have known each other for years, and practiced together before the Miami Open in 2017.
The show of sportsman was incredibly inspiring, and the post-match interview quickly went viral on Twitter. As crowd cheered, the moment was described online as “a lesson in civility and grace” and reminiscent of how Serena Williams treated Osaka after her big defeat. It also represented to many what the future of tennis will look like, acknowledging that these two women will continue to play and compete against one another for years to come.
Who Do Osaka and Gauff Play Next?
Osaka’s next match will be against 13th seed Belinda Bencic in the 4th round of the U.S. Open on September 2, at 4 p.m. ET.
Coco will continue to compete in the U.S. Open in doubles with 17-year-old Caty McNally. They play No. 9 ranked duo Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke on Sunday.