Kobe’s advice to Coco Gauff: Stay focused on the craft

Laker legend Kobe Bryant gives advice to tennis phenom Coco Gauff

Kenny Honaker | CLUTCH POINTS

Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant joined the ESPN crew at the U.S. Open on Thursday. As part of his visit, the Black Mamba offered a few words of advice for Coco Gauff.

“I think the important thing is that there is going to be a lot of things thrown at her. Commitments, responsibilities — those things will grow,” Bryant said, referring to Gauff. It’s important for her to stay focused on what’s most important, which is the craft. Being 15, there are so many years ahead of her. But if she stays focused and connected to the sport, she’ll be fine.”

With her three-set victory over Hungary’s Timea Babos on Thursday, Gauff is now the youngest woman to reach the third round of the U.S. Open since 1996 (Anna Kournikova). The 15-year-old sensation will be facing Naomi Osaka (ranked #1) on Sunday.

“She’s super sweet — I would love to play her,’’ Osaka told the New York Post, referring to Gauff. “When I hear people talking about someone, I want to have the opportunity to play them just to assess it for myself. I definitely would love that.”

Gauff’s parents joined ESPN’s First Take on Friday morning. As you might expect, they are extremely proud of their daughter:

“Every time we set a benchmark, she seems to exceed it,” Gauff’s father said on Friday’s episode of First Take.

Tennis fans are really pulling for Coco. In fact, patrons inside Louis Armstrong Stadium were heard chanting “Let’s go Coco”well into her third set against Babos. She had a feeling that fans would be in her corner, but their show of support has exceeded her expectations:

“I was thinking like maybe they feel like I’m Golden State in Game 7,’’ Gauff told the New York Post after Thursday’s match.