American tennis sensation Coco Gauff took aim at a cartoon hyping-up US players at the Australian Open for a 'foul' depiction of how they looked. Gauff kick-started her Australian Open campaign on Monday with a straight sets win over Anna Schmiedlova in the first round clash.
And while the US Open champion was delighted to have advanced, the 19-year-old sensation had let her feelings known over a US Tennis Association cartoon released to promote the American players in Australia. The cartoon was in the style of the old Nickelodeon TV show 'The Wild Thornberry's' with Gauff and a host of other seeded Americans depicted in the Australian outback.
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Although Gauff didn't like how she was portrayed and suggested it didn't work as a hype post on social media. "Worst thing I've ever seen," she wrote. “Like a caricature artist decided to make (us) all look like hideous looking people. The art style is cool for a cartoon show but not for a hype post. Foul.”
The artwork was eventually taken down. Gauff weighed-in to some of the comments on her social media. “Y’all I know it is a cartoon show but I think I would prefer to be drawn as a Bratz art style and not this. This is makes us all look so ugly,” Gauff added.
She wasn't the only one. American Jessica Pegula claimed "we are ugly as f**k," but accompanied the tweet with laughter on Platform X. Her reply received plenty of comments with many defending the image. Others shared in the laughter.
Yeahhhh its the wild thornberrys but like whyyyyy would they do this. USTA socials missing the mark but a lot here
— Jacob Lipsiner (@JLipsiner) January 14, 2024
Oh Coco did not like this usta cartoon post loool pic.twitter.com/k3jEdmtw6m
— Melanie Lautrup (@melanie_lautrup) January 14, 2024
Coco clarifies her jokes about the USTA cartoon post pic.twitter.com/fTqJ6zu9ic
— Melanie Lautrup (@melanie_lautrup) January 15, 2024
Gauff admitted she made the comment out of boredom in her hotel room. And after her first round win, Gauff clarified her position and that she was never being serious and was laughing at the image with her fellow players.
"People thought I was being serious...I wasn't mad, we look awful," Gauff laughed. "I know it's from a cartoon and the artist did great...I just don't know if I want to see myself drawn in that art style. I said I would prefer Bratz because they look good and their fashion. We did not look good at all." Regardless, the image did not distract Gauff who was near flawless in her first round win.
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The reigning US Open champ won night straight games to end the contest in just 60 minutes against Slovakia's Schmiedlova. Gauff admitted she was feeling nerves, but it hardly showed in her first grand slam match of the year.
"I'm always nervous in the first round of slams," the 19-year-old said. Gauff defeated Aryna Sabalenka in last year's decider at Flushing Meadow, becoming the first American teenager to win the US Open title since Serena Williams in 1999. And the American admitted her grand slam title gave her inspiration heading into the new season.
"Honestly that gave me more confidence today," she added. "My first match at the US Open was also a tough match. "When I was nervous at 3-all I just said to myself 'I feel good, I look good - so just have fun."
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