Barack Obama, wife Michelle meet Coco Gauff after her first-round win at US Open | Tennis News - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Barack Obama, wife Michelle in attendance at US Open, meet Coco Gauff after her first-round win

Aug 29, 2023 11:11 AM IST

Coco Gauff met both the former president and his wife, also getting some advice from them.

Former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were present in the Arthur Ashe Stadium to watch Coco Gauff in action at the US Open. Gauff advanced to the second round after a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over German veteran Laura Siegemund. After the match, Gauff met both the former president and his wife, also getting some advice from them.

Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama attend the 2023 US Open tennis tournament(Reuters)
Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama attend the 2023 US Open tennis tournament(Reuters)

“I wasn’t sure they were here or not. I saw the Secret Service. I didn’t know if it was Mr. Biden and Mrs. Biden. I knew it was somebody. Then I heard that maybe Mr. Clinton was coming. I didn’t know who exactly it was. So I didn’t know until after the match,” Gauff was quoted as saying by AP after the match.

“I didn’t see them in the presidential box,” Gauff said about the Obamas. “I was obviously looking at that, but they weren’t, I guess, in my eyeline. But afterward, they told me they wanted to say hi.”

Meanwhile, Gauff was not very impressed with the officials after battling to a stormy first round victory. However, Gauff said the meeting changed her mood completely.

“Then Mr. Obama was there in the room, too. I was like, 'Oh, my God,” Gauff said with a big smile at her post-match news conference. “I haven’t soaked it in because I literally just walked in here. I think I’m going to never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I went from being really upset after a win to, like, being really happy. So I’m glad I got to meet them. They gave me some good advice, too."

Interaction with Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama also went to the court to take part in a tribute to Billie Jean King(AFP)
Michelle Obama also went to the court to take part in a tribute to Billie Jean King(AFP)

Gauff mentioned that the former first lady told her that "it’s good to speak up for myself. I think she was happy that I spoke up for myself today,” referring to a discussion with the chair umpire about the way Siegemund took extra time between points.

Michelle Obama also went to the court to take part in a tribute to Billie Jean King, marking the 50th anniversary of the US Open becoming the first Grand Slam tennis tournament to pay equal prize money to women.

"Billie Jean teaches us that when things lie in the balance, we all have a choice to make. We can either wait around and accept what we’re given. We can sit silently and hope someone else fights our battles. Or we can make our own stand,” said Michelle Obama during the ceremony between Gauff’s match and 23-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic’s contest that followed next in Ashe.

“We can use whatever platforms we have to speak out and fight to protect the progress we’ve made, and level the playing field for all of our daughters and their daughters.”

In 1972, when King won the US Open, she earned $10,000 for her title, $15,000 less than what the men's champion made. She threatened to not play at all the next year — and added that no other women would, either.

King then helped recruit a sponsor that stepped in and helped make up the difference in 1973, so the two singles champions were paid the same amount: $25,000. It wasn't until more than 30 years later that Wimbledon became the last major tennis tournament to pay its singles champions equally.

“Even today, there are far too many tournaments out there that still need to give equal pay to women. ... Let us remember all of this is far bigger than a champion's paycheck," Michelle Obama said Monday. "This is about how women are seen and valued in this world.”

Michelle has occasionally enjoyed the US Open from the courtside. She was also present to watch American Frances Tiafoe in action last year.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, July 20, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On