Coco Gauff has made fun of a social media post by the USTA showing American players taking part in the Australian Open.
The United States Tennis Association shared a picture of the ranked American athletes in Melbourne, designed in the fashion of the Wild Thornberrys cartoon. The intention of the post was to send well wishes to the players, but it ended up sparking frustration from Gauff, the current US Open champion for women, and her fellow American player Jessica Pegula.
“Worst thing I’ve ever seen,” Gauff said in an Instagram story on Sunday. “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 picture has been removed. “Hey everyone, I know it’s just a cartoon, but I would have rather been depicted in a Bratz style instead of this. It makes us all look unattractive,” the 19-year-old expressed. Pegula, ranked fifth in the world and doubles partner of Gauff, concurred: “Hahaha, we look so ugly,” she replied to Gauff.
Following criticism on social media, Gauff explained that she was not deeply offended by the image. She stated, “I shared my thoughts on the image because I was feeling bored in my hotel room. Tennis Twitter can be amusing but also harsh, haha oh my.”
The post also showed Ben Shelton, Sebastian Korda, Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, and Emma Navarro.
On Monday, Gauff, who is ranked fourth in Melbourne, will begin her tournament against Anna Karolína Schmiedlová. She recently won the Auckland Open for the second time in a row by defeating Elina Svitolina in the final.
Fritz and Tiafoe emerged victorious in their initial matches during the first day of competition in Melbourne, and their fellow unseeded Americans, Caroline Dolehide and Amanda Anisimova, also achieved wins in the women’s bracket.