Coco Gauff revealed she has been channelling one of sport’s most famous mentality monsters during her US Open run.
The American tennis star made her first home Grand Slam final with a 6-4 7-5 over Karolína Muchova, and will face Aryna Sabalenka in the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
In doing so she joined an exclusive club of only five female American teenagers to reach the US Open final, adding to a list of Pam Shriver, Tracy Austin, Venus Williams and Serena Williams.
But Gauff is keeping her feet firmly planted ahead of a potential first Slam win at the fourth attempt.
Speaking after the straight-sets win, she said: “Thank you so much guys. Some of those points it was so loud. I don’t know if my ears are gonna be okay. But be even louder.
“I grew up watching this tournament a lot so it means a lot to be in the final, a lot to celebrate, but the job is not done, so hopefully you guys can back me on Saturday.”
The 19-year-old phenomenon’s comments seemed like a reference to Kobe Bryant’s famous ‘job’s not finished’ speech from the 2009 NBA finals.
The LA Lakers and basketball icon attended a post-game press conference stoney-faced after going 2-0 up against the Orlando Magic and told reporters ‘what’s there to be happy about? Job’s not finished’.
Bryant and the Lakers did go on to finish the series four game to one, picking up one of his five championships during an incredible career.
And Gauff was asked post-match if she was referring to the basketball icon, to which she replied: “Definitely.
“He has an incredible mentality and one of the things is when he’s up, the NBA finals, when they were up in the count or had a 3-1 lead, he doesn’t celebrate.
“He’s satisfied, he gives himself a pat on the back, but it’s time to move on, so that’s the mentality I have. I’m trying to enjoy the moment, but also knowing that I have more work to do.
“So yes the final is an incredible achievement, but it’s something that I’m not satisfied with yet.”
Bryant tragically lost his life in a helicopter accident aged 41 in January 2020.
Gauff was one of many to pay tribute to the icon, wearing trainers at the Australian Open with his no.24 penned on, and the phrase ‘mamba mentality’ – which she is now harnessing.