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Super Bowl Champion head coach Tony Dungy corrected ESPN's mischaracterization of 19-year-old tennis star Coco Gauff's reaction after winning her first U.S. Open title – making her the youngest American woman to win the U.S. Open since Serena Williams in 1999.
Gauff defeated Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka – the second-ranked female tennis player in the world – in the finals of the 2023 U.S. Open. After winning her first Grand Slam singles title, the devout Christian athlete dropped to her knees, clasped her hands, and bowed her head.
ESPN's "SportsCenter" Twitter account shared a video of the momentous occasion with the caption: "Coco Gauff took a moment to soak it all in after winning her first Grand Slam title."
However, Dungy quickly corrected the SportsCenter tweet about the 19-year-old tennis phenom.
"I hate to break this to you SportsCenter but Coco Gauff was not 'soaking it all in' at this moment," Dungy wrote. "She was praying. She has been very open about her Christian faith in the past. It seems pretty obvious what she is doing here."
In fact, Gauff spoke about her Christian faith after winning the U.S. Open. She was asked about what it means to win her first grand slam title on home soil.
"Oh my goodness. It means so much to me. I feel like I’m a little bit in shock in this moment,” Gauff replied. “That French Open loss was a heartbreak for me. But I realized God puts you through tribulations and trials, and this makes this moment even more sweeter than I could imagine."
Gauff was asked about what she was praying for after winning the special title.
“I don’t pray for results. I just ask that I get the strength to give it my all. And whatever happens, happens," she added. "I'm so blessed in this life. I’m just thankful for this moment. Like I don’t have any words for it, to be honest."
Gauff has been open about her faith in the past.
After Gauff won the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati last month, she thanked Jesus Christ.
"I'm just happy to be here in this moment," Gauff said in a post-match interview. "I'd like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It's been a lot of nights alone crying trying to figure it out. And you know, I still have a lot to figure out. But you know, I thank Him for covering me."
After winning the D.C. Open, she thanked "a lot of prayer, a lot of support from my church family."
She then posted a Bible verse on Instagram: Philippians 4:13 – "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."
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Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.