German tennis player Laura Siegemund ripped fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night after she said she was disrespected by the American fan base rooting for 19-year-old tennis star Coco Gauff.
The 2022 French Open finalist took issue with Siegemund’s slow pace of play, something the 35-year-old pro admitted to during her post match press conference. But Siegemund defended herself for putting on a “show” in front of the packed crowd, and said she didn’t deserve the treatment she received.
“I am very, very disappointed of the way the people treated me today. I think I’m a fighter. I never did anything against the audience. I stayed calm. I never made, not even a gesture against the audience. And they had no respect for me,” an emotional Siegemund told the media.
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“They had no respect for the way I played. They have no respect for the player that I am. They have no respect for tennis, for good tennis. And this is something that I have to say that hurts really bad.”
Siegemund said there was “no doubt” she played slow, but said she was not trying “sneaky ways to win this match.”
“There is no doubt that I am slow. There is no doubt about that. I’m getting time violations. There is no doubt about that I should be quicker, but at the same time, it’s how I play. I’m very slow. I do it for me, I don’t do it against the other one. Clapping when you miss the first serve, those kinds of things, I have no understanding for it.”
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She continued: “This kind of unfair – just respectless behavior toward the non-American player, I have only experienced here on this court.”
“I understand they are crazy for the American and they want her to win but to treat the opponent like this, it’s just not good for tennis.”
Siegemund said the entire experience of Monday night’s match has forced her to think twice about returning to the U.S. Open.
“I mean I would only come back because it’s a Slam, but for sure not for the people and to give them a show.”
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Gauff got into a heated discussion with official Marijana Veljovic in the third set over Siegemund’s slow play. She said after the match that she had been “patient” and eventually the crowd voiced their own opinion.
“She was going over the time since the first set. I never said anything. I would look at the umpire, and she didn’t do anything,” Gauff said. “Then obviously the crowd started to notice that she was taking long, so you would hear people in the crowd yelling, ‘Time!'”
Gauff will next face rising tennis star Mirra Andreeva, 16, in the second round on Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.