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‘Serena Walked So She Could Run!’: Fans Believe Refs Are Giving Coco Gauff the Same Unfair Treatment Serena Williams Received on the Court

Coco Gauff’s fiery appearance during the first round of the US Open has fans drawing comparisons between the rising tennis star and one of the sport’s most iconic athletes, Serena Williams.

The 19-year-old came out on top against German opponent Laura Siegemund, 35, despite the match moving, at times, at a snail’s pace. Fed up with Siegemund repeatedly being unprepared for her serves, Gauff blasted chair umpire Marijana Veljovic for not enforcing time violations.

Fans of Serena Williams (right) praised tennis champ Coco Gauff (left) for Monday’s fiery exchange with US Open umpire. (Photos: Cocogauff/Instagram, Serena/Instagram)

Gauff’s frustrations reached a boiling point during the third set. “She’s never ready when I’m serving, she went over to talk like four times, you only gave her a time violation once. How is this fair?” said Gauff to Veljovic. “You’re calling the score after the point is over. It’s not like we’re playing long points. You’re calling the score like six seconds after the point is over!”

Throughout their match, Siegemund was observed signaling to the teen that she was not yet ready to receive the star-athlete’s serve. She was also seen allowing the clock to wind down on her own serves. “I’m going at normal speed. I go at medium pace speed,” said Gauff to the umpire.

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In her post-match interview with the press, Gauff said the only thing she would have changed is saying something about time-stalling tactics sooner.

“Other than that, I don’t regret talking to the ref the way I did. … Sometimes you have these emotions and you forget what you said. I’d still say everything I said in that moment again,” the No. 6 seed said.

Siegemund cried during her news conference, saying that she was treated like “a bad person” by the booing crowd for playing slower.


But Gauff’s fans insist that she is the one being treated poorly. “Serena walked so she could run,” read one post on X.

“Serena and Venus have fought and clawed to get treated fairly. And here we have white being privileged yet again. Let it had been coco that sat down, all hell would have broke loose,” read another.

“So what we not going to do US open is treat Coco like you did Serena!!! Well said Coco!!!!” read another.

Another fan said Williams’ energy was all over the match, including in Gauff’s outfit. “Coco Gauff’s #USOpen kit is giving 2016 Serena AO. Loved it then, love it now,” wrote a fan.

Williams famously blasted umpire Carlos Ramos during the 2018 US Open. She called him to task when he penalized her for a code violation, citing a thumbs up she received from her coach. She lost a point each when Ramos cited her for slamming her broken racket and for being verbally abusive.

The tennis phenom lost her chance at securing the title to newcomer Naomi Osaka. She retired in September 2022 and has since welcomed her second child with husband Alexis Ohanian.

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