NEW YORK (AP) —
Coco Gauff is still a teenager, after all, and so it should surprise no one that she was on her phone in the locker room, scrolling through social media, right up until 10 minutes before heading out on court for the
U.S. Open final.
What the 19-year-old from Florida was reading, she would say later, were various comments, negative ones, "saying I wasn't going to win today; that just put the fire in me."
As a pro athlete from a young age, as someone of whom greatness has been expected by some and doubted by others, Gauff has always taken it all in and kept moving forward, trying to learn from each setback. And now, at a tournament she used to visit as a kid to see her idols, Serena and Venus Williams, Gauff is a Grand Slam champion herself and a certified star.
Setting aside a so-so start Saturday, Gauff surged to a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over the soon-to-be-No. 1
Aryna Sabalenka in the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium, delighting a raucous crowd that backed her from start to finish.
When Gauff walked into her news conference — phone in hand, of course — she noticed that a large screen on the back wall was rotating pictures of her from the match. So she tucked her new silver trophy under one arm and used the other hand to snap a selfie with those photos in the background.