Coco Gauff named among pop culture icons after US Open triumph

Coco Gauff speech

US Open champion Coco Gauff was named to People Magazine’s list of the 25 Most Intriguing People of 2023.

The 19-year-old American Grand Slam winner was one of two athletes on the list, alongside former footballer David Beckham who was the subject of a Netflix documentary.

Gauff’s Grand Slam breakthrough that made good the promise she showed as a 15-year-old when she upset Venus Williams

“After turning heads at age 15 with a first-round win over Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2019, the question was when — not if — Gauff would earn her first Grand Slam trophy,” People wrote on their list of the 25 Most Intriguing People of 2023.

“This turned out to be the year, as the former world No. 1 junior dominated the 2023 US Open, making her the youngest American champion since Serena Williams in 1999.”

Gauff said that it is still strange for her that she is rubbing shoulders with great players on the WTA Tour.

“I don’t know, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it because they’re my idols,” she said when asked about adjusting to being around tennis royalty.

“It’s really weird.”

Gauff hasn’t quite come to terms with her increased profile and doesn’t feel likes a tennis star.

“I don’t consider myself famous or anything,” she added.

“I’m just a person who plays tennis and people like to watch that. But off the court, I’m completely normal and I don’t get why people get hyped up about me. I really don’t, truly.”

Gauff says that she tries to stay carefree on the court so that the occassions she finds herself in do not overwhelm her.

“For me, the most important thing is to try to minimize the moment because the moment can seem so big,” Gauff added.

“It was probably easier when I first started playing.

“I think I just didn’t really understand the whole thing that was going on, especially in 2019 when I had that run. I didn’t understand how big of a deal it was. And I think now I do have that understanding, so sometimes I make it almost too much of a deal when it’s not. So, I do find myself trying to go back to that mindset that I had, but obviously I’m a different person then than now, so it’s not that easy.”

Gauff has been recognised among some of the major movers and shakers of the sports, entertainment and popular culture realms.

She is set to start her 2024 season in a lowkey fashion in Auckland.

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