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Coco Gauff makes Kyrie Irving and Mavericks prediction before NBA Finals

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Coco Gauff is two games away from winning the second Grand Slam of her young tennis career, with a match against world number one Iga Swiatek next up for the American in the 2024 French Open semi-finals. However, the 20-year-old has also revealed she will be keeping a close eye on the NBA Finals, in which she will be backing Kyrie Irving’s Dallas Mavericks against the Boston Celtics.

Why Gauff is backing Irving and Mavericks against the Celtics

After defeating Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros, Gauff was asked to predict the winner of the upcoming NBA Finals, which get underway in Boston on Thursday (6 June), the same day she will be looking to reach her second French Open final (she lost to Swiatek at the last hurdle in 2022).

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While the Celtics are most people’s favourites to win a record 18th championship, the 20-year-old is going against the grain, and it’s all because Mavs guard Irving made a favourable impression on her in a past meeting.

“For the NBA finals, there’s Mavericks and Celtics. I think I’m going to go for the Mavericks just because I like Kyrie Irving a lot and I met him couple of years ago.”

Kyrie Irving’s words of advice for tennis star Coco Gauff

Not exactly cutting-edge analysis, perhaps, but it is known the NBA star, then of the Brooklyn Nets, had some wise words of advice for a 16-year-old Gauff back in 2019 at a practice session.

“You know they (Gauff’s older opponents) respect you. They see you as comPetition. You’re the young one. You need to take over the sport of Tennis. So make sure you take that with pride and have some fun with it, okay? Don’t let the Business side of it get to your head. Make sure you keep the love of it. Alright? I’ll see you around. I’ll always be watching you.”

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Gauff has the opportunity to take another stride towards “taking over the sport of Tennis” in the next few days at Roland-Garros, although she must dispose of three-time French Open champion Swiatek to do so.

Irving and the Mavs face what looks to be an equally tough challenge in the NBA Finals, with the Celtics having by far the best record of any team in the regular season and on a run of 14 wins in 16 Games, which includes seven in a row.

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