American tennis star Coco Gauff’s first-round match against Germany’s Laura Siegemund at the 2023 U.S. Open lasted 2 hours and 51 minutes, and it was not because three sets were needed to determine the winner.
Gauff held in her frustration with Siegemund’s slow pace of play throughout most of the match until it came to a head on Monday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium, where the No. 6 women’s tennis player in the tournament ripped into the chair umpire for not enforcing violations on Siegemund, who she believed was blatantly going slow.
Siegemund had won the first set, 6-3, but after Gauff took the second, 6-2, and had a commanding 3-0 lead in the decisive third set, she was seen consistently putting her arms in the chair to signal that she was not ready for Gauff’s serves.
That was when the 19-year-old lost it and let it be known verbally.
“She’s never ready when I’m serving, she went over to talk like four times, you only gave her a time violation once, how is this fair?” Gauff yelled to the umpire.
After an answer from the chair umpire, Gauff said, “No, you’re calling the score after the point is over, it’s not like we’re playing long points. You’re calling the score like six seconds after the point is over!
“She can’t [go back] every single point. And everybody in this crowd knows I’ve been quiet this whole match…That first set, it was like every point. I didn’t say nothing, but now it’s ridiculous. I don’t care what she’s putting on her serves, on my serves she has to be ready.”
Siegemund was also taking quite a while to throw the ball in the air for each of her serves, while Gauff was moving throughout the match with a quicker pace when it was her turn to serve.
Every tennis player has their own way of serving, some preferring to move faster than others. However, ESPN commentator and four-time U.S. Open men’s singles champion John McEnroe was heard saying, “She’s 100 percent right,” while hearing Gauff’s explanation.
Gauff’s frustration with Siegemund seemed to boil over into the match after the argument with the chair umpire. She dropped two games in a row in the third set to make it 5-4, where she double-faulted a couple of times when she was serving to allow Siegemund some hope.
However, that door was shut when Gauff saw Siegemund hit the net on match point, ending the third set, 6-4.
Although it was only the first round, Gauff let out a roar that may have been coupled with satisfaction and frustration, as the crowd cheered for the American moving on to the next round.
Gauff moves on to face Mirra Andreeva in the second round.