Veteran tennis coach Brad Gilbert admits that Coco Gauff and her team “celebrated hard” after their US Open wins – but confirmed that the teenager was only drinking water while he was having “a little too much tequila”.
Gauff, 19, won her first Grand Slam last weekend by beating the now world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka despite dropping the first set 6-2. The American responded to win the next two sets, 6-3 and 6-2, to triumph at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
She became the youngest American player to hoist the home major in Flushing Meadows since a 17-year-old Serena Williams in 1999. However, emerging victorious in the United States at such a young age did have one drawback.
The minimum legal drinking age in New York state – and across the country – is 21. Therefore, Gilbert did the drinking for her during their celebrations.
“We celebrated hard,” her new coach told TMZ outside Los Angeles International Airport earlier this week. “She was drinking water. I had a little too much tequila.” Gilbert also reflected on the experience as a whole: “It was a great, amazing summer. Coco is an incredible kid; she’s humble, she’s hard-working, and her journey is just beginning.”
Asked to foresee her future, he continued: “She would tell you it’s just about getting better. Everybody wants to do incredible things, but she has a great opportunity in front of her to continue to do some great things.
“She’s incredibly humble, and she’s poised, she speaks incredibly for her age, and her parents [Candi and Corey Gauff] have done an amazing job. And she’s got a great team and just fun to let me be a part of it.”
Gilbert and Pere Riba only became her coaches this summer. The former, who has previously worked with American tennis greats Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick, only came aboard in early August, and under six weeks later, they are Slam champions.
While Gauff did have a somewhat sedate drink of choice during the celebrations, she is not the first to share in more sensible scenes. That is because three of the last five US Open champions were teenagers at the time of their triumph.
Emma Raducanu unforgettably won the 2021 title without dropping a single set aged only 18. Two years before that, Canada’s Bianca Andreescu stunned Serena Williams in straight sets to triumph.