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  • "Imagine Serena Williams existing and saying this" - Tennis fans react to Mark Petchey claiming Coco Gauff is the best athlete in women's tennis
Serena Williams (L) and Coco Gauff (R)

"Imagine Serena Williams existing and saying this" - Tennis fans react to Mark Petchey claiming Coco Gauff is the best athlete in women's tennis

Former tennis player Mark Petchey's recent statement, where he called Coco Gauff the best athlete to ever play women's tennis, did not sit well with fans worldwide.

Gauff secured her first Grand Slam title at the 2023 US Open by defeating World No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka in a thrilling final. She came from behind to win 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in two hours and six minutes earlier in September.

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The 19-year-old became the youngest player since Serena Williams to claim the trophy at Flushing Meadows. Williams secured the title in 1999 at the age of 18 by defeating Martina Hingis, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in the championship match.

Following this, Mark Petchey stated on the Inside-In podcast:

"It's gonna be up to other players on the tour to kinda counter the way that she’s moving the ball around, particularly on the forehand side. I don’t know – I don’t think we’ve seen a better athlete in women’s tennis."
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"That’s something else that’s gonna be a problem for that lot of the players out there, and plus the pressure’s off. I think she’s the best women’s athlete to ever play tennis," the Brit added.
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Tennis fans expressed their discontent with Petchey's remarks on X (formerly Twitter). One user found it "offensive" to label Coco Gauff as the best athlete ever among women's tennis players, especially when there exists a 23-time Grand Slam champion like Serena Williams.

"Imagine Serena existing and saying this , like my gosh how offensive," the user wrote.
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Another user tweeted:

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"Has Coco Gauff improved her game after the new coach, yes. Has she won a GS, yes. Is she on top of the bunch, absolutely not. And to say she’s the best athlete in the history of the WTA is going a little too further in the praising."
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One account posted:

"I don't think we've seen a worse take in sports journalism history."
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Here are a few more reactions from tennis fans:

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Coco Gauff does not want to be compared with Serena Williams

Coco Gauff pictured at the 2020 Australian Open
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Coco Gauff spoke with ESPN during the 2023 US Open and stated that she will never compare herself to her legendary compatriot Serena Williams, whom she considers to be the greatest of all time.

"I don’t think I’m carrying American tennis. I don’t think I will. We have so many compatriots who are doing well. Serena is Serena. She’s the GOAT. I’d hope to do half of what she did. But I’m not gonna compare myself to her," she said.

The World No. 3 also said that the only regret she will have for the rest of her life is not being able to play against the now-retired Williams, before adding that she is "happy" to be a part of the 42-year-old's legacy.

"She’s someone I look up to. Being in the same stat line as her means a lot to me. She’s my idol. The only regret I’ll have for the rest of my life is not being able to play her," Coco Gauff said.
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"There were so many tournaments where if we won an extra round & didn’t lose, I would’ve played her. I’m still happy to just be a product of her legacy," she added.

After her exploits at the New York Slam, Coco Gauff is currently in Beijing for the China Open, a WTA 1000 tournament that begins on Monday (October 2).

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Edited by
Sankalp Srivastava
 
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