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COCO KNOWS: Tennis fans have watched the newly minted U.S. Open women’s singles champion Coco Gauff rise up through the ranks of professional tennis, but many consumers may still be saying, “Coco who?”

New Balance staffers need no introduction, since the Boston-based athletic company signed an endorsement deal with the 19-year-old in 2018. Although her given name is “Cori,” like her father Corey’s, the Florida resident prefers to be called Coco. After securing Saturday’s win, Gauff has received well wishes from President Joe Biden, as well as two of his predecessors, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

Having earned $3 million in prize money with her three-set victory over Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, Gauff had her own post-match thanks to dole out. Accepting the trophy and that check in a New Balance cropped tank and tennis skirt, Gauff praised Billie Jean King for “fighting” for equal pay at the World Tennis Association’s U.S. Open 50 years ago. The champ also thanked Venus and Serena Williams. Gauff showed off her style with mismatched nail polish in pale pink and yellow, and a tank in one of Pantone’s leading New York Fashion Week spring 2024 colors — Rooibos Tea. She later posted an Instagram photo of herself wearing hot pink pajamas holding the trophy with Barbie dreams.”  

Cashing in on the whirlwind of publicity, New Balance is now selling a T-shirt imprinted on the front with “Call Me Coco Champion.” The logo shirt is being sold for $30 on the athletic brand’s e-commerce site. New Balance first developed the original Call Me Coco shirt and campaign in 2019, after she defeated Venus Williams. It was in response to some of the media coverage at that time referring to her as “Cori,” a New Balance spokeswoman said Sunday. Last summer New Balance rolled out the shirt again for its brand ambassador in time for the U.S. Open.

Gauff is “very involved” with New Balance’s lifestyle range, sharing her views of game-worthy style and off-court fashion, the company spokeswoman said. She recently previewed the fall-winter Aimé Leon Dore capsule collection and is the face for New Balance and Ganni’s latest collaboration. Gauff is the only active female pro with a signature shoe, having debuted the Coco CG1 shoe last year with New Balance.

The sixth-ranked women’s pro also has a hand in deciding with New Balance’s design team about which colors to wear for major tournaments. Earlier this year she consulted with her nine-year-old brother Cameron about which colors to infuse into the latest version of her signature shoe. The idea reportedly sprang from New Balance executives giving the elementary schooler a “How to Make a Sneaker” book. (She incorporated one of his choices — neon greens — into wrist bands for last weekend’s showdown). New Balance celebrated the launch of the Coco CG1 “City Brights” shoe with a pop-up event in its Flatiron store that features such touches as her favorite video games and complimentary nail art.