During a press conference about her own US Open matches, Coco Gauff recalled playing fashion police for her fellow U.S. athlete
During a US Open press conference, Gauff (who beat Caroline Wozniacki Sunday to become the first U.S teenager in more than 20 years to reach the quarterfinals) said she'd spent some of her off-court time playing fashion police for some of the male players. She particularly gave a hard time to fellow U.S. star Frances Tiafoe, telling him Carlos Alcaraz and Ben Shelton both had better ouftis.
"Frances told me at the French Open that he had something crazy planned for US Open, and I was like, 'You're wearing confetti,'" Gauff, 19, laughed about the outfit he wore to play Rinjy Hijikata.
She said she then told him she preferred 20-year-old Alcaraz's version of the colorful Nike kit. "Carlos looked better. He's gonna hate this. Love you, Frances!"
It all started from a conversation in the "cool-down area" with U.S. players Tiafoe, 25, and Shelton, 20, according to Tennis.com.
"After my match, Ben and Frances were in the cool-down area... and it was really just cool to see us all there," she said, nodding to the fact that many U.S. players have advanced so far in the tournament.
"Obviously the conversation, they already started the trash talk," Gauff recalled. "I'm indifferent who wins, but I did say that Frances is a little bit upset because I said Ben had the better outfit than him."
Compared to other major tennis tournaments, the US Open enforces a somewhat lax dress code for both players and spectators. “Every player must be dressed in a professional manner for all matches. Clean and customary tennis attire must be worn," the official 2023 US Open Handbook states.
While Wimbledon requires its players to wear almost entirely white, Eric Butorac, Director of Player Relations for the United States Tennis Association and former doubles pro, previously told PEOPLE the US Open dress code has "nothing to do with colors."
While they "can wear everything as bright as they want," they "have to wear clothing from an approved manufacturer."
Fashion choices aside, after beating Learner Tien on Aug. 28, Tiafoe told PEOPLE about the mental toughness of the tournament.
"The mental side of the sport is super tough. I mean, you've got to really try to be your best at all times, but I think that's the beauty of the game; traveling around the world and get that one-on-one competition."
"It's my favorite tournament of the year," added Tiafoe, who became the first Black American man since Arthur Ashe in 1972 to reach the US Open semifinals last year.
He shared that the "crowd and energy" at New York's Arthur Ashe Stadium is "pretty hard to beat" as far as tournaments go. "It's indescribable energy and obviously, one of the best atmospheres in sports."
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Tiafoe added that he's a big believer in "energy and vibrations" aiding in his mental focus.
"Energy today was everything… nyc let’s keep it going. Appreciate the love," he wrote Saturday on Instagram alongside his confetti shirt look on the court.
As for Gauff, the No. 6-ranked player in the world spoke with PEOPLE recently through her partnership with Barilla, discussing fame and explaining how "completely normal" she is off the court.
“I don't consider myself famous or anything,” she said, laughing. “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.”
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