After Gauff rallied to beat Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, messages quickly poured onto the social media platform formerly known as Twitter in celebration of the 19-year-old American’s first Grand Slam title.
“We couldn’t be prouder of you on and off the court — and we know the best is yet to come,” Barack Obama wrote.
Obama and his wife, Michelle, were in Arthur Ashe Stadium on opening night, when Gauff rallied for a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Laura Siegemund. They met with her after the match, which was followed by a tribute to Billie Jean King as part of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Open becoming the first sporting event to offer equal prize money to female and male competitors.
“The support I have gotten is incredible,” Gauff said. “Obviously from President Obama and former first lady Michelle is crazy that they were here my first-round match, and now I’m a different person now.”
Gauff and her parents also received a congratulatory phone call from President Joe Biden, who was in New Delhi for the Group of 20 summit.
Gauff thanked King for the leading the prize money fight when she collected her $3 million winner’s prize. King responded to a tweet showing video of that moment, posting that: “This generation is living the dream of the Original 9,” referring to herself and the other women who signed $1 contracts to launch a women’s pro circuit in 1970.
Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson congratulated Gauff and praised her parents, writing that “Corey and Candi, they’ve done an outstanding job!”
And Gauff got kudos from rival competitors, with 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens telling her that “my girl you are amazing!!!!”
AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis