Cori Gauff addresses ‘taking torch from Serena Williams talk’ at US Open

Cori Gauff addresses ‘taking torch from Serena Williams talk’ at US Open
© Getty Images Sport – Sarah Stier

Cori Gauff admits she is feeling extra pressure to do well at this year’s US Open but also highlighted she is “not trying to fulfill Serena Williams’ footsteps.” Gauff, 19, won two titles leading up to the US Open and that put the American among the top favorites for the title at Flushing Meadows.

“Yeah, definitely… I do think there’s a slight pressure and everybody’s looking at me. It does put a little bit less pressure in a way because she is the greatest player of all time,” Gauff told PEOPLE.

Cori Gauff© Getty Images Sport – Sarah Stier

Gauff ‘not trying to fulfill Williams footsteps’

American women’s tennis hasn’t had a US Open champion since Sloane Stephens’ victory in 2017.

Also, there hasn’t been an American woman in the US Open final since Williams lost to Bianca Andreescu in 2019. Gauff is in great form and locals are hoping that will change this year. In the same interview, Gauff also highlighted that she’s “not trying to fulfill those footsteps whatsoever.” Also, Gauff added: “But obviously I do want to be the best version of myself and be the best that I can be.”

Cori Gauff© Getty Images Sport – Sarah Stier

Before the start of the US Open, tennis legend Martina Navratilova said this may be the perfect moment for Gauff to take the torch from her idol Williams.

“I think she’s ready to [receive] the torch but also I think she realizes that there’s some big shoes to fill… The passing of the torch would be symbolically obviously going to Coco from Serena. She’s gonna be along with [top two seeds Aryna] Sabalenka and Swiatek.

For me, she’s the number three favorite to win the tournament. And with her confidence, maybe even slightly better than that, with the crowd behind her, I think it’s gonna be crazy,” Navratilova said of Gauff’s US Open chances before the start of the tournament.

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