US tennis stars Coco Gauff and Caty McNally paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant after their doubles win in the third round of the Australian Open.
Gauff and McNally rallied after dropping the first set against Japanese due Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara to win 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
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After the win, Gauff held up two fingers on one hand and four on the other, signalling ‘24’, the number Bryant wore for the first half of his NBA career.
McNally held up four fingers on each hand for ‘8’, the other number Bryant wore, both of which were retired by the Los Angeles Lakers after the shooting guard’s 20-year career with the team.
Bryant and his teenage daughter Gianna were among nine to die in a helicopter crash northwest of Los Angeles on Monday morning.
"We were both heartbroken about Kobe,” Gauff said during the on-court interview after the match.
“I know he is looking down on us right now.”
Gauff also had ‘RIP Kobe’ and ‘RIP Gigi’, as well as both of Bryant’s numbers written on her shoes for the match.
The American pair will take on Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in the quarter finals on Tuesday.
Tennis stars pay tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant
Bryant’s shock death prompted tributes from several other players in the Australian Open draw.
Nick Kyrgios donned a Lakers jersey and was moved to tears as he entered Rod Laver Arena before his clash with Rafael Nadal on Monday night.
Nadal himself posted a tribute to Bryant on Instagram, while former Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic took to Twitter to share his thoughts.
“My heart truly mourns over the news today,” Djokovic wrote.
“Kobe was a great mentor and friend to me.
My heart truly mourns over the news today. Kobe was a great mentor and friend to me. You and your daughter will live forever in our hearts. There are not enough words to express my deepest sympathies to the Bryants and every family suffering from this tragedy. RIP my friend pic.twitter.com/VRmgaOaITT— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 27, 2020
“You and your daughter will live forever in our hearts.
“There are not enough words to express my deepest sympathies to the Bryants and every family suffering from this tragedy. RIP my friend.”