French Open: Coco Gauff praised for ‘respectful’ response to coaching violation

Coco Gauff, French Open

Coco Gauff breezed through her opening match at this year’s French Open, yet it was her reaction to receiving a coaching violation that has got fans talking. 

Gauff defeated Rebecca Marino in straight sets 7-5 6-0, but received a warning from umpire Marijana Veljovic during the second set after it appeared as though Gauff’s father was signalling to her. 

The 18-year-old was perplexed by the ruling and attempted to explain to the umpire that her father was merely cheering for her. 

Gauff baffled by umpire’s warning 

In an attempt to understand the umpire’s warning, Gauff spoke with Veljovic during a changeover and stressed that this was the first time she’d ever been warned for a coaching violation. The teenager also clarified that she specifically tells her father not to speak during matches to avoid any confusion. 

“I just want to let you know, that this is the first time a ref has told me this. Even after the match, I tell my dad, ‘don’t say anything.’ That’s why I’m shocked because I literally tell him, ‘I just want you to clap, don’t say anything to me.’” 

Veljovic emphasised that she wasn’t accusing Gauff of anything, but merely pointing out that her father was gesturing with his hands. This prompted the American to re-emphasise that she’s never been accused of receiving coaching in the past. 

“I know what you’re saying. I know you’re not accusing me of anything, I’m just letting you know it’s the first time a ref has said this to me.” 

Fans praise Gauff for ‘respectful’ reaction 

Many fans were quick to praise the teenager on how calm she remained during her interaction with Veljovic. 

While a number of players, including Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios, have been criticised recently for verbally abusing umpires, Gauff managed to get her point across politely, even though she disagreed with the decision. 

One fan wrote on Twitter: “It just really is refreshing to watch a player have a polite, calm conversation with an umpire and treat her like a person, even in disagreement.”

Meanwhile, another said: “A player that can calmly explain her point of view to an umpire without insulting her. Very refreshing from Coco [Gauff].” 

A third echoed this idea and exemplified that all umpires should be treated with the same level of respect. 

“I applaud Coco, but find it kind of sad that this show of calm and politeness from a player toward a Chair Umpire has become a bit of a surprise, and refreshing to see. Here’s to hoping for more respect all around from here on.” 

Who will Gauff face next?

Gauff will play Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck in round two on Wednesday. 

Having reached the quarter-finals last year, Gauff will be hoping to go further this year as she bids to win her first major title.

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