Cori Gauff tells how NBA star Jimmy Butler inspired her impressive comeback win at RG

Gauff recovered from a set down to beat Rebeka Masarova in the French Open first round.

by Dzevad Mesic
Cori Gauff tells how NBA star Jimmy Butler inspired her impressive comeback win at RG

Cori Gauff reveals she drew inspiration from Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler after finding herself down by a set in her opening match at the French Open. Gauff, the 2022 French Open runner-up, made a slow start to her French Open first-round match as world No 71 Rebeka Masarova won the first set.

But Gauff, seeded at No 6, didn't panic as she easily recovered to beat Masarova 3-6 6-1 6-2. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Heat took a 3-0 lead over the Boston Celtics before the Celtics won three games in a row to force a Game 7 and come on the verge of becoming the first-ever NBA team to win a series from being 0-3 down.

Butler promised the Heat would be ready for Game 7 and he kept his word as he delivered a big performance and helped Miami reach the NBA Finals. “Honestly, today I told myself if Jimmy Butler didn’t freak out when they were up 3–0 and then all of a sudden it was 3-all, then I shouldn’t freak out from losing the first set,” Gauff said when asked by Sports Illustrated's Jon Wertheim.

Gauff drew inspiration from Butler in a big comeback

At the start of the 2023 season, Gauff destroyed Masarova 6-1 6-1 in the Auckland final. But at the French Open, Masarova came out playing much better and Gauff was made to work before clinching the win.

"It was a tough start. Rebeka played a great match, but I'm happy with how I was able to turn it around. The final, it's in the past. I had a bad game in the first set and a couple of break chances, so I knew I was going to be able to turn it around.

I just had to be aggressive on those moments. I felt like there were certain aspects of my game that I wasn't playing my best on, but I know I'm confident on the surface and in these conditions, and I think that's what I relied on today," Gauff said.

Cori Gauff Rebeka Masarova French Open