Nineteen-year-old American tennis star Coco Gauff publicly thanked her church and God for helping her overcome her first-round loss at Wimbledon last month to win the Mubadala Citi DC Open women’s final, where she impressively beat Greek world No. 9 Maria Sakkari 6-2, 6-3.
She said, “First, I’d like to thank my Father God for this. After losing in first-round Wimbledon, it was a tough situation. You know, a lot of prayers and a lot of support from my church family. So thank you to Him and those who support me.”
Gauff, a member of the historic Saint John Missionary Baptist Church in Boynton Beach, Florida, has previously discussed the importance of her faith and church family in her life. In a New York Times piece, she discussed her father, Corey, and shared how he would pray with her before each match for the health of both players. She told the publication it would be “stupid to waste a prayer on results.”
Gauff first made major headlines in 2019 when she became the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon’s history. She won her first-round match against the formidable Venus Williams, a five-time singles champion at the tournament. She also credited God for that win. She revealed to NYT Magazine, “Before every match since I was 8, my dad and I say a prayer together. We don’t really pray about victory, just that me and my opponent stay safe. After the match, I was just thanking God for this opportunity.”
In a statement cited by the D.C. Open, Gauff explained what her first WTA-500 title, her fourth title overall in her career, means to her. She said, “It means a lot to me really. Any American tournament, I think, is special, but I feel like even more here. I have played Cincinnati, and I have played other tournaments in the U.S., even last year in San Jose when this was in San Jose, but I think that there is just something about D.C.”
With the help of her new team to support her development as a player, including new coach Pere Riba, and team consultant Brad Gilbert, Gauff has addressed weaknesses in her game, like her forehand and footwork.
“We all know that her forehand was always her weaker shot. I feel like now she’s improving that. She’s making more balls. She’s working on that,” Sakkari, 28, who had beaten Gauff four times, said about Gauff’s improvement. “Mentally, she looks a lot more mature. She knows what she’s doing on the court.”