Coco — the up-and-coming people's champion
Coco Gauff

Dear Editor,

Call me Coco. No, she ain't loco. She's the US Open champion, her name is Coco!

The 2023 US Open Grand Slam is over and the 19-year-old Coco Gauff has been crowned champion, defeating Aryna Sabalenka in a fiercely contested final. In doing so, she became the youngest American grand slam champion since Serena Williams in 1999.

Gauff did it the the hard way, she lost the first set 2-6, Sabalenka's power hitting was immense as she hit Gauff off the court — the American had no answers. The second set was different, Coco began to find answers to Sabalenka's power, forcing her opponent to make the extra shot, drawing more errors, getting the break of serve, consolidating the break, and taking the set 6-3.

The third set was almost a continuation of the second, Gauff's speed was now too much for Sabalenka's power and with her confidence through the roof and Sabalenka's frustration mounting, Gauff quickly secured a double break. Despite Sabalenka's best efforts, she wasn't able to halt the prowess of the 19-year-old, who, in front of her home crowd, served for the US Open championship and secured victory with her first match point.

A Grand Slam victory for Gauff is a delight not just for the Americans but also for tennis fans across the Caribbean. She is the modern-day Venus and Serena Williams; she's not just a champion, she's our champion.

We remember a 15-year-old back in 2019 defeating Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon and from that day many thought a champion was born. It took her three years to reach her first Grand Slam final, the 2022 French Open, she was outplayed then by Iga Swiatek, but as the saying goes, 'nothing before it's time'. Her time was to come at her home Grand Slam.

At just 19 years old Gauff has many years left in her, dominant years we hope. Fellow American Sloane Stephens won the championship in 2017, to date that is her only Grand Slam championship, failing to take up the mantle left by the Williams sisters. As for Gauff, she's younger, fitter, and more driven, so it is expected that her fate will be different.

Filling the void left by the Williams sisters is a big ask, but with a Grand Slam championship in the bag at just 19 years of age and a new career-high ranking of number three, Gauff is well on her way to becoming the people's champion.

Kemar Bogle

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