Australian Open: Gauff dreams of USA grand slam double as men rise to the occasion

By Sports Desk January 20, 2023

Coco Gauff is excited about the prospect of players from the United States winning both singles titles at the same grand slam again following a bright start to the Australian Open for the men.

The last American to win the men's singles crown at any grand slam was Andy Roddick at the 2003 US Open.

The USA is still way out in front for all-time grand slam men's singles titles with 147, though 19 years and counting is comfortably their worst barren spell during the Open Era.

This comes after 2003 was the 15th year in a row that the USA had at least one champion in the men's majors, with the likes of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi both prolific winners.

Of course, the drought did not extend to the women, with Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and Sofia Kenin all winning at least once since Roddick's success at Flushing Meadows.

But with eight of the last 32 in the men's draw representing the USA, there is a renewed sense of optimism – and that is even accounting for their highest seed, number eight Taylor Fritz, falling in the second round.

Gauff – who beat compatriot Bernarda Pera on Friday – is the USA's next great female hope, and she is looking forward to the day Americans claim a men's and women's double at the same slam.

Asked if there was a refreshing sense of excitement around the men, Gauff said: "Yeah, definitely. I definitely think on the men's side they're thriving.

"It's like eight people in the round of 32 I saw. I think it's incredible. It's just people that you've been rooting for for a long time, and some new faces, too, that people probably haven't been rooting for a long time but fell in love with.

"I'm just excited. On the women's side, we're always like, 'the guys need to catch up, you guys need to put in your work'. I think they're here. I'm hoping that eventually, hopefully soon, we'll have our slam champion on the men's side.

"That would be pretty cool if an American woman and guy could win the same slam. I don't know when the last time that's happened or if it's ever happened. I'll be pretty excited."

Coincidentally, it last happened at Melbourne Park. In 2003, Andre Agassi and Serena Williams were victorious at the Australian Open.

Gauff is not getting carried away, but her perception is there is genuine belief among the men now, which is being fed by unity.

"I definitely think the guys are feeling it," she said. "You can see it. I think it really comes from, not the women, but the same dynamic, where everybody is doing well, so it makes you want to do well.

"We're all not competing with each other but pushing each other. I think that's what the men are having.

"They're competing against each other but also pushing each other to be better. I'm pretty sure all the American guys get along, at least that's what I think."

There were setbacks to American men's title hopes on Friday as Frances Tiafoe and Mackenzie McDonald both lost at the last-32 stage, but there was a hugely notable win too, with Sebastian Korda beating seventh seed, two-time Australian Open runner-up and former US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.

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