Annika Dyczkowski ’25
This year’s Women’s U.S. Open broke new records and reintroduced star players to the spotlight. Saturday, Sept. 9, New Balance Athlete and Atlanta, Georgia native Coco Gauff won her first Grand Slam singles title at 19 years old. During her 13-day trek to victory, Gauff competed in seven rounds of play, winning 85 games in 18 sets, clocking in at over 13 hours’ worth of matches played. Her finals match against Aryna Sabalenka earned over 3.4 million views on ESPN, not only breaking the record for the most watched women’s Grand Slam tennis final, but also garnering more than the men’s final on the same network.
The heat wave that the East Coast experienced last week was felt by players at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, but Gauff contributed her upbringing in Delrey Beach to her victory. In her championship press conference, she nonchalantly added, “Yeah, the heat means nothing to me… South Florida has helped me a lot prepare for these moments.”
National acclaim for Gauff was reflected through crowd approval at Saturday’s finals match. Mary Joe Fernandez, American former professional tennis player, recalls having to use both earpieces in the stadium to block out the crowds overwhelming roar. Fernandez ordinarily uses one earpiece to hear broadcasters and stadium chatter, but crowd support and participation prevented this balance. “I couldn’t hear them talking in the booth. It was that loud”, she denotes.
Following her historical win, business analysts predict that promotional outreach will climb exponentially. Gauff already has sponsorships with reputable brands like New Balance, UPS and Rolex. Fernandez comments that “the sky is the limit” in terms of future collaborations for Gauff. The tennis star will reportedly close this year with over $10 million in endorsements alone, and the combination of her talent and appeal to younger crowds is what drives her high marketability. Rory Satran, Executive Fashion Director of the Wall Street Journal, emphasized that Gauff is “all about ultrabright colors, body-baring crop tops and youthful, independent-feeling brands.” Immediately following her biggest victory to date, Gauff sported a New Balance graphic tee which reads, “Call me Coco Champion”; the shirt has since been sold out online. The appeal of Gauff to a wide audience has businesses clawing for brand deals and promotions with the tennis star.
In addition to her undeniable athletic ability, Gauff is also admired for her charisma and relatability to the younger generation. Shortly after winning the Grand Slam title, Gauff went live on TikTok and interacted with fan questions; one viewer posed using the prize money to pay off debts, to which she replied laughing, “I’m 19, I don’t have any debt.” After her win, viewers observed reactions from Gauff’s family, including her father’s tear-stained celebration. She remarked that was the first time she had seen her father cry, let alone on live television with millions of viewers; Gauff humorously added that her dad was “caught in 4k”, a phrase coined by Gen-Z to colloquially describe someone being caught red-handed. Fans of all realms excitedly anticipate Coco Gauff’s next big move- whether that be on a court, a billboard, or an Instagram post.