On Saturday, after years of hype and close calls, Coco Gauff finally broke through with her maiden Grand Slam victory, defeating Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the U.S. Open final.
Gauff is the first American man or woman to win the home tournament since Sloane Stephens in 2017, and the first American to win a major since Sofia Kenin’s 2020 Australian Open triumph.
“Thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me,” Gauff said after the match. “To those who thought you were putting water on my fire, you were actually adding gas to it.”
As champion, the 19-year-old takes home $3 million from a Grand-Slam-record $65 million prize pool, bringing her total on-court earnings this season to over $5.5 million.
As runner-up, Sabalenka will collect $1.5 million, extending her WTA prize money lead to $7.4 million. The 25-year-old can also take consolation in the fact that she will be the No. 1-ranked player in the world come Monday.
Gauff’s achievement will surely benefit her already blossoming career financially: She is the third-highest-earning women’s tennis player and seventh-highest-earning overall, accumulating $15.2 million from $12 million in off-court earnings, per Forbes’ latest rankings.
The American’s victory also signals the continuing trend of parity in women’s tennis: The U.S. Open has now crowned eight different champions in the nine years since Serena Williams finished her run of three straight titles in 2014.