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Coco Gauff fumes at US Open umpire over slow pace of play

Coco Gauff speaks to the chair umpire during her match against Laura Siegemund in the first round of the US Open. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Coco Gauff cracked jokes Monday night following her tense win in the first round of the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

When asked how she would describe the match, Gauff responded with one word: “Slow.” Then she broke into a smile.

No. 6 seed Gauff and qualifier Laura Siegemund butted heads over the pace of play throughout the entirety of the nearly three-hour match. Tempers boiled over in the third set, when Gauff approached the umpire to express her frustrations over Siegemund dawdling both on and off the serve.

“She’s never ready when I’m serving,” Gauff protested. “She went over to talk like four times. You gave her a time violation once. How is this fair? … I’m going a normal speed. Ask any ref here. … I’ve been quiet the whole match. … Now it’s ridiculous. I don’t care what she’s doing on her serve, but [on] my serve, she has to be ready.”

While Gauff wound up dropping that game, Siegemund later was docked a point for delaying the game by going to her towel – a penalty that she then protested. Still, the penalty helped widen Gauff’s lead in the third set, and the 19-year-old would go on to win the third set and take the match, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

Afterward, Gauff explained her frustrations, noting that while Siegemund had been going over time “since the first set,” Gauff remained patient despite the umpire not taking action. Eventually, though, it reached to the point where the crowd started to chime in and yell “time” whenever Siegemund ran over.

While Gauff said she doesn’t “like confrontation all that much,” in the third set the situation became too much to ignore. If she could do the match over again, she “would’ve said something earlier,” but she doesn’t regret talking to the ref the way that she did.

“I wasn’t sure if I was in the right or not until it, like, happened multiple times,” Gauff said, referring to Siegemund’s delay tactics between points. “Then I was like, OK, I know I’m in the right. … For me, I try my best not to let my emotions take over myself. I wanted to express my frustration but also being censored. … I was trying to best communicate how I was feeling to the referee. … I’d still say everything I said in that moment again.”