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Coco Gauff wasn’t the only one serving last night at the US Open. Though it’s still early in the tournament, the 19-year-old tennis champ is already drawing in A-list fans, including none other than Barack and Michelle Obama.
The former first lady repped the tournament’s official color in her monochromatic Opening Night outfit. The star of the show was her mid-length denim Oscar de la Renta dress, with its sweetheart neckline and A-line silhouette, which she paired with a raffia platform sandal and a navy cropped cardigan. In a subtle nod to the American Grand Slam’s other official color, she painted her toenails a bright, tennis ball yellow. Obama added a stack of black bracelets and wore her hair in sporty ponytail, showing off a pair of chunky silver hoops.
Obama wasn’t only celebrating the opening night of the tournament as a fan. She took to the floor to honor Billie Jean King and celebrate the 50th anniversary of equal prize money for US Open champions—both men and women. In 1972, when King won the women’s singles event, she was only paid $10,000, in comparison to the Ille Nastase’s $25,000 winnings for the men’s event. By 1973, both champions were paid $25,000. Today, the winnings have increased to $3 million.
The former first lady noted that the issue of equal pay goes far beyond the tennis court, and that King’s tireless efforts to secure equal pay is a prescient example of fighting for gender equality. “Let us remember that all of this is far bigger than a champion’s paycheck. This is about how women are seen and valued in this world,” Obama told the crowd. “Sadly, we have seen how quickly progress like this can be taken away if we are not mindful and vigilant, if we do not keep remembering, advocating, organizing, speaking out, and, yes, voting.”
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