At the US Open, teenage girls reign supreme and it's contagious

As Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez have gotten to one game of an unlikely women’s US Open final, an even younger duo are just as clos...


As Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez have gotten to one game of an unlikely women’s US Open final, an even younger duo are just as close to winning the trophy in tandem.

Coco Gauff, 17, and Caty McNally, 19, beat doubles seeded duo Elise Mertens and Hsieh Su-wei on Wednesday afternoon in the women’s doubles quarter-final, 6-3, 7-6 ( 1).

In the interview with Gauff and McNally on the pitch in front of a cheerful crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium, McNally said she was inspired by the success of her peers in singles.

“It’s really amazing,” McNally said. “I walked past Leylah and Emma in the locker room and just congratulated and rooted them. I think it’s amazing. Age is just a number; it means nothing. We show that we are fierce and we are ready to be here competing with everyone. I just think it’s awesome.

At their press conference, Gauff said she believed there was “definitely a shift” happening towards a younger generation.

“For me, I always knew it was going to happen,” Gauff said. “I’m happy. I’m so happy for Leylah and Emma. I’ve known them both for a long time; they’re both super nice girls, and I always cheer them on. Gauff said she had to leave the site of the tournament in Fernandez’s quarter-final victory on Tuesday, but stayed to watch the conclusion. “I had to wait until that third set was over,” Gauff said. “It ended up being a long time, but it was worth it worth the wait. “

“I encourage them both,” Gauff added. “I hope we have a teenage final. It’s definitely inspiring. It inspires me to do better and work harder.

Gauff, ranked 23rd in singles, has been a leader for her generation in recent years, resetting expectations of what teens can achieve in the age of professional tennis after reaching week two at Wimbledon in 2019 when she didn. was only 15 years old. McNally has yet to beat the top 100 in singles, but said she was encouraged by the successes of Raducanu and Fernandez.

“I think that should just give everyone the inspiration to go out there and say, ‘Why not me? “” McNally said. “That’s what they do, go out there every game, play so fearless. “Why not go to the semi-finals, or the quarters or win?” They play very boldly, fiercely. Obviously we’re not in singles yet, but I think we can do the same in doubles.

Despite their youth, the team dubbed “McCoco” is one of the most established partnerships in women’s tennis. McNally and Gauff first played together three years ago here, winning the US Open women’s doubles title. They have played together frequently since, winning three WTA titles starting in 2019 and reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open twice.

“The main thing that makes us hard to beat is our chemistry with each other,” Gauff said. “If one of us is away, the other is always there to cover.” (When McNally missed this year’s French Open, Gauff played doubles with a decidedly older partner: Venus Williams, then 40.)

Mertens and Hsieh, whose second serves were both relentlessly attacked by teens across the net, praised the emerging generation.

“They have nothing to lose: they can play and be free,” said Mertens, a 25-year-old relative veteran who is also ranked in the top 20 in singles. “At the physical level, they are very mature, but also mentally. They already have a lot of power, for 17 and 18 year olds.

Hsieh, 35, was excited about injecting young people into the singles and doubles draws at this year’s Open.

“It’s always nice to see the young girls coming,” Hsieh said. “They are beautiful, they have energy and they have different games. It is an exciting refreshment for the tour.

Hsieh, however, said she was happy to watch the youth takeover from a distance, for now. “I hope I don’t need to face them again too soon,” she said. As their field interview wrapped up, Gauff grabbed the microphone to address the ‘Gen Z’ people she saw in attendance.

“Armstrong is still a young audience – I saw a lot of kids there,” Gauff said at his press conference. “I wanted them to know that this can definitely happen to them. I just think if you dream about it you can do it. All those kids over there just reminded me of when I was here at the US Open watching people play, thinking I can do it. It’s still such a big dream.

“People always say, ‘Yeah, every kid thinks he’s going to be No. 1 and everything,’” Gauff added. “I think every child should believe this and should work for it; don’t let adults tell you you can’t do it.

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Newsrust - US Top News: At the US Open, teenage girls reign supreme and it's contagious
At the US Open, teenage girls reign supreme and it's contagious
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