Super Bowl champion head coach Tony Dungy had some choice words for ESPN’s “SportsCenter” X account on Saturday night after Coco Gauff won her first U.S. Open title.

After Gauff defeated Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, the “SportsCenter” account wrote that the tennis phenom “took a moment to soak it all in after winning her first Grand Slam title.”

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Coco Gauff prays

Coco Gauff, of the United States, kneels in prayer after defeating Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, in the women’s singles final of the US Open tennis championships, Saturday, September 9, 2023, in New York.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Dungy took aim at the account and asserted that Gauff was praying.

“I hate to break this to you SportsCenter but Coco Gauff was not ‘soaking it all in’ at this moment. She was praying. She has been very open about her Christian faith in the past. It seems pretty obvious what she is doing here,” Dungy wrote.

Gauff spoke about her faith after winning the first Grand Slam title of her career after she was asked what it meant to her to win the title on home soil.

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Tony Dungy in Inglewood

Tony Dungy of NBC Sports during an NFL game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills on September 8, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. ( Icon Sportswire)

“Oh my goodness. It means so much to me. I feel like I’m a little bit in shock in this moment,” Gauff said. “That French Open loss was a heartbreak for me. I realized God puts you through tribulations and trials. This makes this moment even more sweeter than I could imagine. 

“I don’t pray for results. I just ask that I get the strength to give it my all. Whatever happens, happens. I’m so blessed in this life. I’m just thankful for this moment. I don’t have any words for it, to be honest.”

She is the youngest American, male or female, to win a US Open since Serena Williams did so at age 19 in 2001. (Williams also won two years prior when she was 17.) Gauff also joins Williams and Tracy Austin as the only American teenagers to win the tournament.

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Gauff’s previous best finish in Queens was in the quarterfinals last year – she lost the 2022 French Open to Iga Swiatek.

Fox News’ Ryan Morik contributed to this report.


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