Gauff also shared the advice Michelle Obama gave her after the first-round match
Coco Gauff was not in the best mood after her first-round match at the US Open last night — that is, until the Obamas walked in the room.
Gauff, 19, said she noticed members of the U.S. Secret Service around Arthur Ashe Stadium throughout the night and had been looking for Barack, 62, and Michelle Obama, 59, during her first-round win over Laura Siegemund.
But she never saw the former first couple sitting in the presidential box while she played, and at times, Gauff told reporters after the match, she initially thought either President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden, or President Bill Clinton, were coming instead.
"I didn't see them in the presidential box," Gauff said about the Obamas. "I was obviously looking at that, but they weren't, I guess, in my eyeline.”
But then the former first lady made a surprise speech after the match, honoring Billie Jean King and marking the 50th anniversary of equal prize money at the US Open. Gauff said word eventually came to her that Michelle wanted to say hello.
And then Gauff said she was shocked to see the former president walk in the door too.
"Then Mr. Obama was there in the room too. I was like, 'Oh, my God,'" Gauff said. "I haven't soaked it in because I literally just walked in here. I think I'm going to never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I went from being really upset after a win to, like, being really happy. So I'm glad I got to meet them. They gave me some good advice too."
Gauff said the former first lady “did say it's good to speak up for myself.”
“I think she was happy that I spoke up for myself today,” Gauff said.
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The first-round match became heated at times. Gauff said afterwards that Siegemund, 35, played too “slow,” which irked both her, the match umpire and the New York City crowd throughout the match.
Siegemund argued with the umpire about the serve clock early in the match, which the German player routinely went past before making her serve, drawing jeers from the crowd. Later in the match, Gauff had a lengthy discussion with the umpire about Siegemund bending the rules.
She joked that meeting the Obamas helped keep her calm and that her mood was “a little nicer” than it initially was after the match.
“I really don’t like confrontation all that much,” Gauff said. “It just reached a point where I was really frustrated.”
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