Congratulations Coco Gauff, the 19-year-old American winner of the U.S. Open women’s singles title, her first Grand Slam.
In addition to Gauff’s victory, there were several other surprises this year: three Americans made it into the semifinals, Coco, Madison Keys, and a 20-year-old on the men’s side, Ben Shelton, who just completed his first full year on tour. But the most memorable moment, in my opinion, was when Gauff, after winning the final match, dropped to her knees and began to pray.
The 19-year-old had been a Grand Slam finalist before, losing badly to the number one player at the 2022 French Open. After a first-round loss at Wimbledon this year, Coco supplemented her team, which was comprised of primarily her parents, Candi and Corey. Veteran coaches Pere Riba and Brad Gilbert, who coached former champions Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, joined the Gauff camp.
Since that time her confidence has blossomed. Before this year’s U.S. Open, Gauff won two prestigious lead-up events this summer, the Mubadala Citi Open in Washington D.C., and the Western and Southern Open in Ohio.
The new coaching staff and hard work paid off in Saturday’s final, with her three-set win over the formidable Belarusian champion Aryna Sabalenka, who tried unsuccessfully to hit Gauff off the court. Coco’s emotional reaction, complete with tears from both she and her parents (it was, she said, the first time she saw her father cry), were wonderful to watch. But the icing on the cake was when Gauff dropped to her knees and began to pray.
“It was a beautiful act of gratitude,” my tennis-playing bestie, who is also a Christian, explained. “Not just praying for something good to happen, but giving thanks it did!”
In this day and age, it takes great courage and humility to thank God on live TV.
Sports commentators on the left — -and there are many — claimed not to see what was happening. ESPN’s “SportsCenter” reported that Gauff “took a moment to soak it all in after winning her first Grand Slam title.”
Thankfully, Super Bowl champion head coach and NBC commentator Tony Dungy set the record straight.
“I hate to break this to you SportsCenter but Coco Gauff was not ‘soaking it all in’ at this moment. She was praying. She has been very open about her Christian faith in the past. It seems pretty obvious what she is doing here,” Dungy wrote.
As tennis and tennis coverage gets increasingly woke, watching the sport without the lens of political correctness is extremely challenging. As a conservative and a fan, I enjoy the game by watching responsibly. This means skipping the preshow, opening ceremonies, and most interviews. Yet on Tennis Channel and ESPN, match commentators like Pam Shriver and Chris Evert shade their commentary with PC chatter, speaking on Saturday of Coco’s “social awareness” in addition to talking about her tennis game. But after she knelt down to pray, giving thanks to God for providing her the strength to persevere, they couldn’t think of anything more to add.
One thing is certain. Regardless of how hard the left tries, they cannot tamp the good stuff down. Of all the ceremonies, special guests and tightly crafted messages (“50 years of equal pay!” was printed on each court), the most inspiring moment of this year’s U.S. Open, was when an extraordinary young lady before millions of people, dropped to her knees and prayed, giving thanks for a hard-fought, well won victory.