WTA hope Coco Gauff has put her beliefs on the line with an impassioned speech in front of her hometown Florida city hall, with the 16-year-old adding her voice to the protests over the police killing of George Floyd.
The teenager pegged as the future of the sport, spoke out against racism in Delray Beach as protests against the Minneapolis murder of the unarmed Floyd by police continued around the globe.
Gauff called for change in historical attitudes which have characterised race relations in the chaotic US for centuries.
She spoke dueing a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.
“I think it’s sad that I’m here protesting the same thing that (my grandmother) did 50-plus years ago,” Gauff said.
“So I’m here to tell you guys that we must first love each other no matter what. We must have the tough conversations with our friends. I’ve been spending all week having tough conversations, trying to educate my non-black friends on how they can help the movement. Second, we need to take action.”
Though two years away from casting her own first vote, Gauff called for action at the ballot box.
“Yes, we’re all out here protesting, and I’m not of age to vote, and it’s in your hands to vote for my future, my brother’s future and for your future.
“So that’s one way to make change.”
“You need to use your voice, no matter how big or small your platform is, you need to use your voice. You need to not be silent. If you are choosing silence, you’re choosing the side of the oppressor.
“It breaks my heart because I’m fighting for the future of my brothers. I’m fighting for the future of my future kids. I’m fighting for the future of my future grandchildren. So, we must change now.”
With the WTA and all of tennis shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic – which is especially bad in the US – Gauff has been active on social media.
The player managed by Roger Federer’s Team8 company called out the Swiss icon to do more in the battle against racism, including making donations and public statements.