Daria Kasatkina, Coco Gauff and Shelby Rogers enjoyed special moments with adoptable puppies at last week’s Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.
Each year, the tournament partners with local service organizations to give back to the community. One of these is an animal shelter, the Humane Society Silicon Valley. HSSV offers pet adoptions, affordable spaying/neutering, vaccinations, microchipping services, pet care services and education programs to enhance the human-animal bond. They were scheduled to bring adoptable puppies to the San Jose tennis event for all quarterfinalists to walk on with.
After winning the singles title at the 2022 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, Daria Kasatkina gave a victory speech that included all of the usual hallmarks, thanking her team, sponsors, and on-court staff. The Russian then alluded to behind-the-scenes drama that was a year in the making, when she took the opportunity to tease the tournament for not giving her the opportunity to walk on to her quarterfinal match with a puppy.
Kasatkina missed the chance last year due to scheduling, but was promised she would get one this year if she stuck around through Friday. Unfortunately, she was scheduled for a morning match and puppies were not brought to site till 3pm. To appease her, the media director brought a dog, Olive, to her post-match press conference and brought more puppies to the player lounge later in the afternoon.
The San Jose tournament staff promised Kasatkina she would get a dog if she made the quarterfinals in 2023, but only time will tell.
Players who did get to walk on court with dogs were thrilled to be a part of the playful way to bring attention to the issue of animal adoptions.
Coco Gauff lost her quarterfinal match to Paula Badosa, but lit up when asked about the puppy, Tucker, she carried on court: “I didn’t know that I was gonna hold him. I’ve seen this happen but usually, it’s on the leash. It’s really cute. I always wanted a dog. So that’s probably as close as I’m gonna get to one. With traveling, it’s just quite impossible.”
“It was really cool, the dog was really cute and it was kind of nice to hold something so precious and so calm,” Gauff added. “It definitely made me happy before the match.”
Finalist Shelby Rogers said, “anytime I get to mix puppies with my job, it’s a great day. I was super excited to carry that sweetheart on court and I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Humane Society here last year. I actually went on site and saw their operations, how they do things.” The American smiled and added, “I absolutely support doing this every single week.”