Coco Gauff Says She Called Her Boyfriend to Ease Her Nerves the Night Before Winning 2023 US Open

When thoughts of a possible US Open title became too much the night before her championship match, Coco Gauff turned to her boyfriend to refocus.

The 19-year-old secured her first Grand Slam title on Saturday with her victory at the 2023 US Open, only her second Grand Slam final. The other was at the 2022 French Open, a disappointing loss in which Gauff said she thought she spent too much time the night before imagining holding that trophy, which kept her from winning the match.

Gauff didn’t want that to happen this time, so the night before the US Open final, the tennis star said she called her boyfriend.

“Honestly, I didn’t have any of those visions [of winning] until last night,” she told reporters after her win. “You know, I was thinking about it, but I told myself to put it out of my head, because I was doing it in French. I imagined, you know, what would happen if I won. I think I wanted it too much.”

Coco Gauff, 19, wins first Grand Slam title at US Open 2023: ‘Sweeter than I could have imagined’

Coco Gauff.

Clive Brunskill/Getty

“Last night I started a little bit but honestly I just called my boyfriend and told him to talk to him until it’s time to go to bed so we talked until 1:00 in the morning and then I went to sleep.”

That, Gauff said, was one of the tactics that helped her “go all out” and stay focused on being in the match, even when she lost the first set.

Coco Gauff says ‘only regret’ of her career will be never playing Serena Williams: ‘She’s a BADGER’

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“When I lost the first set, I still felt like I was in the match and I said, you know, I’m going to do my best. You know, whatever happens, happens,” she said. “Even on that match ball, you know, 40-Love, like, technically the match was on my racket. I didn’t feel like I won. It was crazy. I was just trying my best to focus on the point in front of me. “

Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff.

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Gauff later reflected on the difference between who she is as a player now, compared to who she was when she lost in the French Open final.

Asked if she felt relief after winning the US Open, Gauff said the feeling was there, but not as much as it would have been a year earlier.

“It’s not the biggest emotion. I think it’s honestly the smallest, and I think that was the difference between the French Open and now. If I had maybe won that title – obviously I didn’t – that would be the biggest emotion, more than happiness, more than excitement,” she said.

Coco Gauff of the United States reacts after defeating Aryna Sabalenko of Belarus in the women's singles final match on day thirteen

Coco Gauff.

Al Bello/Getty

“Right now I just feel happy and very, very relieved. Because honestly at this point I was doing it for myself, not for other people.”

Gauff’s US Open title – which made her the youngest American to win the tournament since Serena Williams in 1999 – was the result of a tough match against Belarus’s Arya Sabalenka. After losing the first set 3-6, Gauff came back to take the second set 6-3, and finished the match with a dominant 6-2 in the final set.

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“I feel a little bit in shock right now,” Gauff told the crowd after her win. “That loss at the French Open was heartbreaking for me, and that makes this moment even sweeter than I could have imagined.”

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