A powerful moment unfolded Saturday night after tennis star Coco Gauff won her first U.S. Open title, with the athlete stopping to bow down and pray to the Lord.
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Gauff, 19, defeated Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, and was subsequently “overcome with emotion,” embracing coaches and family, and then heading back to the court to pray, Sports Spectrum reported.
The tennis star — the first teenager to be victorious since Serena Williams’ 1999 win — also later spoke openly about her faith, telling ESPN’s Mary Jo Fernandez about her views on God, prayer, and trials.
“I feel like I’m in shock,” she said of her previous highly-publicized loss. “That French Open loss was a heartbreak. I realized God puts you through trials. This makes this moment even sweeter than I could imagine.”
Gauff also gave insight into what she says to the Lord when offering invocations.
“I don’t pray for results,” she said. “I just ask that I get the strength to give it my all. Whatever happens happens. I’m so blessed in this life.”
Watch her comments:
Coco Gauff spoke about her faith in God after winning the US Open:— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) September 9, 2023
“Oh my goodness. It means so much to me. I feel like I’m in shock. That French Open loss was a heartbreak. I realized God puts you through trials. This makes this moment even sweeter than I could imagine. I don’t… pic.twitter.com/5Lkbz9F2gU
The prayer and faith statements caught much attention, but so did another interaction surrounding Gauff’s decision to pray on the court.
Famed football coach Tony Dungy hit back at ESPN’s “SportsCenter” X account after a post by the sports outlet included a video of Gauff praying and stated she “took a moment to soak it all in after winning her first Grand Slam title.”
Dungy clarified exactly what Gauff was doing after her win.
I hate to break this to you SportsCenter but Coco Gauff was not “soaking it all in” at this moment. She was praying. She has been very open about her Christian faith in the past. It seems pretty obvious what she is doing here. https://t.co/UOZ6zoCEPC— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) September 10, 2023
“I hate to break this to you, SportsCenter, but Coco Gauff was not ‘soaking it all in’ at this moment,” Dungy posted. “She was praying. She has been very open about her Christian faith in the past. It seems pretty obvious what she is doing here.”
Obvious, indeed. And a powerful testimony to Gauff’s love for and reliance upon the Lord.
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