After American Tennis star Coco Gauff won her first U.S. Open title Saturday, she dropped to her knees in a moment of obvious prayer, which ESPN instead described as “a moment to soak it all in.”
Prominent sports commentator and former Super Bowl-winning NFL coach Tony Dungy set the record straight, however, calling out the media giant for its misleading description.
ESPN’s Sports Center posted footage of the prayer to X, formerly known as Twitter, with the caption, “@CocoGauff took a moment to soak it all in after winning her first Grand Slam title.” The post generated millions of views worldwide.
Shotly after, Dungy, who is no stranger to speaking out about his faith, shared the post with his own commentary:
“I hate to break this to you SportsCenter, but Coco Gauff was not ‘soaking it all in’ at this moment. She was praying. She has been very open about her Christian faith in the past. It seems pretty obvious what she is doing here,” Dungy wrote.
After defeating Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, Gauff explained how much it meant to get the U.S. Open victory after a devastating loss at the French Open.
“Oh my goodness. It means so much to me. I feel like I’m a little bit in shock in this moment,” she said. “That French Open loss was a heartbreak for me. I realized God puts you through tribulations and trials. This makes this moment even more sweeter than I could imagine.”
“I don’t pray for results,” she explained. “I just ask that I get the strength to give it my all. Whatever happens, happens. I’m so blessed in this life. I’m just thankful for this moment. I don’t have any words for it, to be honest.”
The tennis star broke into the professional tennis scene in 2018 at the young age of 14 and has continued to give God glory, relying on faith to keep her humble as her profile grew. Gauff has prayed with her father before every match since she was 8, not about a victory, but for the safety of both players and thanksgiving for the opportunity.
Gauff frequently talks about her Christian faith.
In August, after she defeated Karolína Muchová in the Masters 1000 championship at the Cincinnati Open, Gauff expressed gratitude to her Lord and Savior.
“This is unbelievable. I’d like to thank my lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” she told reporters. “I spent a lot of nights alone crying trying to figure it out. I still have a lot to figure out, but I thank him for covering me.”
Gauff’s defeat of Sabalenka, the current number one in the WTA rankings, will likely see her move into the top spot.
Gauff is the youngest American to win the U.S. Open since Serena Williams won at 19 in 2001. Gauff, Williams and Tracy Austin are the only American teenagers who’ve won the tournament.