Wall Street Elite Celebrate Coco Gauff, Novak Djokovic US Open Victories

Social calendars over the US Open finals weekend are kept free for many, and like clockwork, icons from Wall Street, Hollywood, and corporate America made the pilgrimage to Flushing Meadows.

(Bloomberg) — Social calendars over the US Open finals weekend are kept free for many, and like clockwork, icons from Wall Street, Hollywood, and corporate America made the pilgrimage to Flushing Meadows.

On Sunday night, Novak Djokovic exacted revenge against his 2021 conqueror Daniil Medvedev, storming to a 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 victory in 3 hours and 16 minutes to earn a 24th Grand Slam. 

Jonathan Nelson, Providence Equity Partners’ founder and executive chairman, was among thousands rooting for the Serbian, who at 36, became the oldest US Open men’s singles champion in the Open Era.  

“You have to give him his due, he is unquestionably one of the greatest to play the game,” Nelson said before the match, though he claimed Carlos Alcaraz, last year’s US Open champion, as “my guy.” 

High-quality shotmaking garnered applause from KKR’s Joe Bae and Scott Nuttall, Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman, GoldenTree’s Steve Tananbaum, Coatue’s Phillipe Laffont, Chubb’s Evan Greenberg, Energy Capital Partners’ Doug Kimmelman, Samlyn Capital’s Rob Pohly and Soma Capital’s Aneel Ranadive. Also absorbing the action in Arthur Ashe Stadium was Blackstone co-founder Steve Schwarzman, who dined with friends including Trilantic’s Charlie Ayres at Aces, a white-tablecloth establishment, before the action began. 

Coming soon: Sign up for Bloomberg’s Business of Sports newsletter for the context you need on the collision of power, money and sports, from the latest deals to the newest stakeholders. Delivered weekly.

As folks rushed to their seats, former Carlyle CEO Kewsong Lee stopped to greet Morgan Stanley’s Dan Simkowitz and American Express’s Raymond Joabar. IBM’s Gary Cohn, Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, IAC’s Barry Diller and Estee Lauder’s Fabrizio Freda were seen enjoying the match from suite-level.

Relaxing cross-legged front row and courtside was John Paulson. Notably, just five seats separated the hedge fund manager and former Puerto Rico business partner Fahad Ghaffar, who filed a lawsuit against him last week.

While Schwarzman’s colleague Prakash Melwani described himself as neutral, ArcLight’s Angelo Acconcia said he was rooting for Medvedev. 

“Good to see excellence,” Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said in social media posts, describing the quality of the men’s final as “phenomenal.” 

At its conclusion, the triumphant Djokovic — cheered on by Matthew McConaughey, Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Timberlake — donned a “Mamba forever” t-shirt, dedicating his 24th major title as a tribute to his late friend Kobe Bryant, who wore the ‘24’ jersey for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Call Her Champion

Providence’s Nelson, who is also co-founder and executive chairman of sports-focused investment firm Dynasty Equity, congratulated women’s singles champion Coco Gauff for her three-set comeback win on Saturday night over Aryna Sabalenka. 

“Call her champion,” said Nelson, referencing the slogan coined by Gauff’s sponsor New Balance, a play on the “Call me Coco” phrase that emerged when the Florida-based teen burst onto the scene in 2019 with an upset over Venus Williams in a dream Wimbledon debut. 

“Such poise and talent at an early age, inspiring really,” he said. “I hope and expect we get to see her for many years to come.”

The battle drew a crowd of 28,143, marking the highest-attended women’s singles final in US Open history, according to the United States Tennis Association. Contributing to the record number were Hollywood icons Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Mindy Kaling, Ellen Pompeo and Shonda Rhimes, as well as basketball stars Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler. Harvest Partners’ Michael DeFlorio sat near Spike Lee to witness the 19-year-old deliver a memorable backhand winner on match point to become the youngest American to hoist the US Open trophy since Serena Williams in 1999.

“You’re an inspiration to us all,” JPMorgan’s Nelle Miller said to Gauff when presenting her with a $3 million check. The gracious right-hander took that moment to acknowledge Billie Jean King, who paved the path for equal prize money exactly 50 years ago. “Thank you Billie for fighting for this,” she smiled at the 79-year-old. 

On Sunday afternoon, before heading to the New York Giants opening game at which she posed for photos with fans including philanthropist Laurie Tisch, Gauff answered a few questions on Instagram. How does she plan to spend her earnings? On a burger, bills from her coaching team, and perhaps a vacation, Gauff said, downplaying a near-term need for real estate because she still lives with her parents — and doesn’t want to move out until she’s at least 21. 

“The US Open always has a special way of producing these ‘they’ve arrived’ moments in front of the New York crowd and the next generation of American tennis had that kind of year on both the women’s and men’s sides,” said Sixth Street co-founder Joshua Easterly, referencing both Gauff and upstart Ben Shelton’s surprise run to the final four. “It’s fun to watch and it’s great for the future of the sport.”

Read more: Michelle Obama Criticizes Pay for Women’s Sports at US Open

–With assistance from Amanda Gordon.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.