Coco Gauff advocated for herself in the workplace, so of course, a white woman cried

OPINION: After Gauff’s subsequent first-round win at the U.S. Open, her opponent, Laura Siegemund, made herself the victim and cried in a post-game interview.

Coco Gauff, US Open,
Coco Gauff of the United States celebrates a point against Laura Siegemund of Germany during their Women's Singles First Round match on Day One of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Black women have to advocate for themselves in the workplace every single day. 

In many cases, they work in spaces where their co-workers and upper management are mostly white, and that makes advocating for themselves extremely tricky. When those co-workers and upper management happen to be a certain type of white women? Baby, it gets even rougher.  

I’ve worked with this type of white woman before. If you call out something they do, they immediately become offended. They will try to push back on you and try to make the situation your fault instead of theirs. They will do anything besides take accountability for what they did. 

Coco Gauff is 19 years old. She had to advocate for herself in the workplace in a situation involving two white women. 

Let me start by commending baby girl for not letting the chopper spray when she delivered her rebuke. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, especially with the way both of the women were playing in her face. 

Gauff, 19, beat Germany’s Laura Siegemund, 35, to advance to the next round of the U.S. Open on Monday night. 

Gauff was frustrated with the umpire, Marijana Veljovi, during the match because Veljovi was not calling out Siegemund, who, as ESPN put it,  “took her sweet time between points and never seemed ready to play when the 19-year-old from Florida was.”

2023 US Open - Day 1
Coco Gauff of the United States speaks to the chair umpire after a point against Laura Siegemund of Germany during their Women’s Singles First Round match on Day One of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Gauff is referring to the 25-second rule, which says both the server and the receiver need to be ready to play within 25 seconds after the scoring of the last point. The first time a player is not ready within the allotted time, they will receive a warning. For each subsequent time a server isn’t ready, they’ll receive a fault, leading to a second serve; when the receiver isn’t ready, they’ll lose a point. 

When Gauff drew this to the umpire’s attention, and in a now-viral video, we can see them going back and forth as the umpire tells Gauff that she plays “very quick” while her opponent plays “slow,” and Gauff corrects her and says she plays at a “normal, medium pace.”

Both the crowd observing the match as well as the ESPN commentators agreed with Gauff, and her statements to the umpire were met with loud applause. 

As ESPN reports, the crowd began watching the clock and yelling “timer” every time Siegemund was slow to be ready for the next serve, and when she later had her own exchange with the umpire, the crowd booed her. 

Gauff won the match, and I love that for her. She deserves. 

Siegemund, on the other hand, admitted in her post-match interview that she is slow, she said, “I should be quicker, but at the same time, it’s how I play.”

As a professional tennis player, you are well aware of what the rules are as far as the time in between serves. You are admitting that you are aware, yet you continue to take your time between plays, and you expect everyone else to adapt to your style of playing instead of you adapting to the actual rules of tennis. 

Have I got that right? 

Ma’am. At your big age, you should be trying to set an example for those coming up after you, and I say that not to be ageist but rather to point out the responsibility you have as a “performer” as you put it, to perform things the right way. 

In other words, girl, please be for real. 

Siegemund mentioned the fact that the crowd booed her, and she used that to make herself the victim, complete with white lady tears because that is in the rule book, right?

“They treated me like I was a bad person,” she sobbed. 

She’s dragging it. 

She could cop to being slow, admit that she either needs to get faster or find something else to do with her time, and congratulate Coco on her win. 

Instead, she took the time to make it into a scenario where she is somehow the victim, and not Coco, the person who was basically cheated out of multiple points during the entire match. 

It’s egregious.

It’s always disappointing but never surprising when this happens. 

In this case, they got the right one because Coco not only stood her ground, but she emerged victorious at the end of the match. 

She was the better player both on the court and on the chessboard that is the game of life as a Black woman. 

Checkmate and game, set and match.

Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at

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