Coco Gauff's iconic US Open trophy speech not only resonated with tennis fans around the world, but with her fellow athletes.
Late last month, WNBA star Breanna Stewart shouted out Gauff, and the American's now-famous message to her detractors after winning her first major title in Queens, as an inspiration to her despite Gauff being a decade younger. The 29-year-old Stewart, in her first year playing for the New York Liberty, which plays its home games in the adjacent New York City borough of Brooklyn, was named the league's MVP -- the first Liberty player to earn the honor.
"Coco, what you said when you won the US Open stuck with me," Stewart said, before quoting Gauff's memorable message: "I try my best to carry this with grace, but honestly to those who thought they were putting water on my fire, you were really adding gas -- and now I'm burning so bright."
And at the China Open this week, Gauff sent the love right back.
"I saw her MVP speech on Instagram," Gauff said. "It was really cool to be quoted by such an incredible athlete as her, especially someone that's older to me, way more established in her field or her sport than I am, draw inspiration from me.
"Congratulations to her for getting the MVP. I think in basketball, it's something that's difficult 'cause you can play great, and it's really up to other people to decide if you deserve it."
Stewart will lead the Liberty in next week's WNBA Finals in the hopes of bringing home the team's first-ever league championship. And with Gauff's hometown Miami Heat currently without a women's affiliate, the US Open champion is open to rooting interests.
Stewart seems like the perfect fit.
"I think she had an incredible season ... I'm really happy for her. I know the playoffs are going on right now," Gauff said. "Hopefully the rest of the season can be really good. I've been rooting for more individual players. South Florida doesn't have an WNBA team, so I've been rooting for more players than actual teams."