US Open: Coco Gauff jokes that Justin Bieber inspired her comeback win over Elise Mertens: ‘I thought I can’t lose in front of him!’
Coco Gauff joked that the thought of losing in front of Justin Bieber inspired her US Open comeback against Elise Mertens on Friday evening.
Gauff showed a strong comeback, reaching the fourth round of the US Open and keeping her hopes of winning a first Grand Slam title alive.
The 19-year-old lost the first set but did everything he could to turn the game around, winning 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 in front of a crowd that included pop star Bieber, his wife Hailey and NBA star Jimmy Butler belonged.
After the game, Gauff said she was aware that the A-listers were cheering her on. In fact, she said her presence made her win the last ten games.
“I definitely saw who was there,” Gauff told ESPN. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, Justin Bieber!’ At this point the score in the second set was 2:3. I thought, ‘I can’t lose in front of Justin Bieber.’ I didn’t lose a game after I saw that!’
Coco Gauff joked that Justin Bieber helped her in her US Open comeback win against Elise Mertens
Miami Heat superstar Jimmy Butler watched along with Bieber and his wife Hailey Bieber
“The first time I saw it I felt a little uncomfortable, then I remembered President Obama and Michelle Obama were at my first-round game… I’m a fangirl right now.”
The Obamas saw their comeback against Laura Siegemund on opening night. She also had to fight back in the first round, and after reaching the round of 16, Gauff admitted she was “stiffened” by Bieber.
“‘Never Say Never’ was one of my favorite songs when I was a kid. And then ‘Baby, Oh Baby’… I could go through all his songs,” she said.
“And then Hailey comes too – I guess it was a little date night for her, which is really cool.”
Gauff came back after losing the first set to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the third round match
She added: “Jimmy Butler has come to a few of my games, so I wasn’t that surprised he was there.” But I still think: “This guy is busy. Why is he coming to watch me play?!” But it’s a really cool experience.”
The 19-year-old also paid tribute to the audience in New York. “The energy today definitely helped me. “I felt you,” Gauff said. “I did my best in every aspect.”
“When you lose the first set, you know you have to show that you left all your energy in the first set and are ready to play… after I lost the first set, I said to myself: There is still a lot to do .’remaining and much of the game is still to be played.’
“Elise played well and I tried my best to win in three sets – I have to give credit for that. “In the last few weeks I’ve won in straight sets. So a win is a win – it doesn’t matter how you get it and I’m just happy.”