MIAMI -- After winning their second title of the season at the Miami Open on Sunday, Coco Gauff's first priority was to check in on the NCAA women's basketball championship game. To the 19-year-old's delight, LSU defeated Iowa to take home the program's first title.
"My dad's from New Orleans so I cheer for LSU," Gauff told WTA Insider. "I also have some friends who go to LSU, not on the team, but I'm a mutual with one of the girls on the team, Flau'jae Johnson. So I was rooting for them for that reason but also a New Orleans connection.
"But Caitlin Clark is amazing. She's definitely one of the best, if not the best player in college. I was hoping our match finished before the fourth quarter starts because that's when the game gets juicy. They ran away with it though. That's good, too."
Q. It's a big month in sports in America right now, obviously with March Madness.— wta (@WTA) April 3, 2023
Gauff: LSU just won. First thing I did when we got to the bench. I turned on ESPN. She's like, What are you watching? I was like, LSU.
(we can confirm @CocoGauff had her eyes on @LSUwbkb post win) pic.twitter.com/1PGLe4gNrM
Much of the discourse on social media after the game concerned the etiquette or acceptability of trash-talking in sports. This begged the question: How much trash-talking happens in a sport like professional tennis?
"There could be more banter here and there," Gauff said. "So long as you don't take it personally. You see in basketball, guys go at each other and then they go out for a drink afterward.
"I think it would make the sport interesting. I think this is something that would bring more fans in. Pretty much every other sport has it. In college tennis they trash talk a lot."
Gauff and Pegula caught up with WTA Insider after their big win to elaborate on the topic:
Cam Bam ⭐️— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) April 2, 2023
Still cant beat me on the spikeball field😜 https://t.co/QTPWWUZ4SM
WTA Insider: Since you've both been following March Madness, the topic of trash-talking has been all over social media. To what extent is there trash-talking on the pro circuit?
Pegula: For the girls, it's usually at the handshake.
Gauff: Or people talk behind your back and it gets around (laughs).
Pegula: The guys definitely trash talk.
Gauff: They trash talk, but the mics don't always pick it up. You guys don't always see everything.
Pegula: The guys will tell us, 'Oh I said this to him when we changed sides.' Guys are just better at having fun with it.
With the girls, it gets too personal. I don't know why. I think it would be fun.
Gauff: I wouldn't take it personally. I played other sports growing up, I played basketball and ran track. In those sports we trash talk a lot and I was the only girl on the boys team. I got some dishes and you had to dish some back. And anyone who knows my dad ... he would be so pro trash talk.
Pegula: My coach said the same thing. It's so normal for them.
Gauff: I think it's also the culture of tennis. If I did that, Twitter would go insane. But if Caitlin Clark does it, people love it. And there's nothing wrong with that. It makes the sport interesting. But it's the social norms of our sport that makes it different.
Pegula: Also in basketball, you can talk a lot of trash no one hears it. If you call someone out from across the tennis court, the whole crowd, the umpire, and Twitter is going to know. That's why when it's happened once or twice it's just such a big deal. I wish it wasn't like that.
WTA Insider: Why do you think it would make the sport more interesting?
Pegula: It would add more types of fans and not make it so traditional. In Full Swing [the Netflix golf documentary series], the Waste Management Open is insanity.
I think one tournament should be absolutely nuts. Not every week, but you know going into this one tournament it's going to be nuts.
Gauff: Like at Tiebreak Tens, that would be a good event to try it out. I would love to trash talk.
I think the American mentality is also different. I think it's a cultural thing.