Iga Swiatek’s lovely gesture to Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff as Roger Federer joins Gauff celebratory party

Shahida Jacobs
Coco Gauff US Open celebrations
American tennis player Coco Gauff holding the US Open trophy

Former world No 1 Iga Swiatek has taken time out to congratulate tennis’ newest Grand Slam winner Coco Gauff and new world No 1 Aryna Sabalenka while Roger Federer also heaped praise on Gauff.

The 19-year-old Gauff fulfilled her early promise as she won her maiden major by defeating Sabalenka in the US Open final on Saturday and in the process becoming the first American teenager since Serena Williams in 1999 to win their home major on the hallowed turf at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Besides current US President Joe Biden, former American President Barack Obama and former US First Lady Michelle Obama congratulating Gauff on her success, the big names in the tennis world also lined up to congratulate the youngster.

“Congrats to U.S. Open Champion @CocoGauff. You electrified Arthur Ashe stadium and the entire nation – the first of more to come and proof that anything is possible if you never give up and always believe. You’ve made America so proud,” President Biden wrote.

Former President Obama said on social media: “Congratulations to US Open champion, @CocoGauff! We couldn’t be prouder of you on and off the court – and we know the best is yet to come.”

As for the tennis big wigs, four-time Grand Slam winner Swiatek – who lost in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows – praised both Gauff and Sabalenka – who become the new world No 1 on Monday – following the US Open final.

“Congrats to you both! @CocoGauff on your 1st GS title, so special on your home soil and to @SabalenkaA on becoming new no 1. Amazing night and time for women’s tennis!” she wrote.

Sabalenka replied with “Thank you” while Gauff wrote “thank you “.

Swiatek had spent 75 consecutive weeks at No 1, but dropped to No 2 following her fourth-round exit from the season-ending Grand Slam last week.

Former world No 1 and 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer also heaped praise on rising star Gauff, who is part of the Swiss great’s TEAM8 management team.

In a message on Instagram and X/Twitter, the tennis great wrote: “Inspirational win @CocoGauff , Been watching your and following you for years. It’s great to see so much hard work and passion being rewarded. You shine brighter than ever #TEAM8”.

His reference to Gauff shining “brighter than ever” was no doubt related to her post-match message to the “haters” who felt she didn’t have it in her to win a Grand Slam.

“I want to say, honestly, thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me,” she said.

“A month ago, I won a 500 title and people said, I would stop at that. Two weeks ago, I won a 1000 title and people were saying that was the biggest it was going to get.

“So three weeks later, I’m here with this trophy right now. I’ve tried my best to carry this with grace and I’ve been doing my best. So to those who thought they were putting water on my fire, you were really adding gas to it. And now I’m really burning so bright right now.”

READ MORE: WTA Rankings: Aryna Sabalenka topples Iga Swiatek while Coco Gauff forms ‘new Big Three’