US Open: Coco Gauff jokes that Justin Bieber inspired her comeback win over Elise Mertens: ‘I thought I cannot lose in front of him!’
US Open: Coco Gauff jokes Justin Bieber inspired her comeback win over Elise Mertens: ‘I thought I couldn’t lose to him!’
Coco Gauff joked that the thought of losing to Justin Bieber inspired her comeback at the US Open Friday night against Elise Mertens.
Gauff produced a fine return to reach the fourth round of the US Open and keep her hopes alive of winning a maiden Grand Slam singles title.
The 19-year-old dropped the first set but dug deep to turn the game around and win 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 in front of a crowd that included pop star Bieber, his wife Hailey and NBA star Jimmy Butler.
After the game, Gauff said she was aware of the A-listers cheering her on. She even said their presence pushed her to win the last ten matches.
“I definitely saw who was there,” Gauff told ESPN. “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness, Justin Bieber!’ At that moment it was 2-3 in the second set. I thought, “I can’t lose to Justin Bieber”. I haven’t lost a game after seeing that!’
Coco Gauff joked that Justin Bieber inspired her US Open comeback victory over Elise Mertens
Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler watched along with Bieber and his wife Hailey Bieber
“I got a little edgy when I first saw him, and then I reminded myself that President Obama and Michelle Obama were at my first-round game…I’m fangirling right now.”
The Obamas watched her comeback against Laura Siegemund on opening night. She also had to fight back in the first round, and after reaching the last 16, Gauff admitted she was “starstuck” by Bieber.
‘Never Say Never’ was one of my favorite songs when I was little. And then ‘Baby, Oh Baby’… I could go through all his songs,” she said.
And then Hailey came too. I think it was a little date night for them, which is really cool.”
Gauff came back after dropping the first set to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the third round
She added, “Jimmy Butler has come to a few of my games so I wasn’t too surprised he was there. But I’m still like, “This guy is busy. Why is he coming to see me?!” But it’s a really cool experience.”
The 19-year-old also paid tribute to the New York crowd. “Today’s energy definitely helped me. I felt you,” Gauff said. “I played my hardest every point.”
“If you lose the first set, you know you have to show that you put all that energy into the first set and you’re ready to play… after I lost the first set, I said to myself: there’s still a lot of game There’s still a big part of the game to play.’
‘Elise played well and I did my best to win in three sets, give me some credit. The last few weeks I won in two sets. So a win is a win – it doesn’t matter how you get it, and I’m just happy.”