Coco Gauff praises NBA icon Jimmy Butler's mentality, admits she was nervous about him watching her play at Miami Open 2023

Coco Gauff was nervous to see Jimmy Butler at the 2023 Miami Open
Coco Gauff was nervous to see NBA star Jimmy Butler at the 2023 Miami Open

During her second-round clash at the 2023 Miami Open on Thursday night, Coco Gauff was left starstruck as she spotted NBA superstar Jimmy Butler in the stands of the Stadium Court.

After receiving a bye in the first round, the sixth seed began her pursuit of a maiden WTA 1000 title with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Canada's Rebecca Marino. The rising American star broke her opponent as many as five times over the course of an hour and 12 minutes.

In her on-court interview after the match, Gauff blushed while revealing that she was nervous about Miami Heat star Butler watching her play.

"Jimmy Butler is here, so I was a little bit nervous when I saw him," she said.

The World No. 6 further stated that she could not ignore the 33-year-old basketball player since he was seated near her towels. She added that she was a fan of the NBA team Miami Heat and went on to laud Butler's mindset.

"I've watched games here all throughout my life. Well, when I saw Jimmy Butler, I mean, he was right next to my towels, I had no choice but to see him. It was really cool because I love watching the Heat, they're my team. He has just, like, that mentality, that dog in him, something that I really admire a lot," Coco Gauff added.

At the recently-concluded 2023 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the 19-year-old reached the quarterfinals, where 2023 Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka downed her 6-4, 6-0.


I don't mind if fans walk around: Coco Gauff agrees with Frances Tiafoe about giving freedom to tennis fans during matches

Coco Gauff during the 2023 Miami Open
Coco Gauff during the 2023 Miami Open

Drawing comparisons with basketball, Frances Tiafoe recently urged tennis administrators to allow fans to talk and move around during matches to attract new fans to the sport. Coco Gauff has lent support to Tiafoe's views, saying that she never wanted tennis to be completely silent and that the fans' movement would not bother her.

“It’s quite interesting what Frances said,” Gauff said. “I definitely think it would be more enjoyable for the fans, especially in the stadium, but I don’t know how players would be able to do that. I've always said tennis doesn't need to be completely silent."
"The movement, I think, is definitely doable for me. For me personally, it doesn't bother me. I think with the flags, depending on the colors, that would be tough. I never really mind if someone's walking around or anything," she added.

Gauff will take on 27th seed Anastasia Potapova of Russia in the third round of the 2023 Miami Open.

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Edited by Nihal
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