Coco Gauff became the youngest Grand Slam finalist in 18 years at the French Open on Thursday and used the opportunity to plead for peace at home by writing “peace, end gun violence” on a TV camera as she left the court.
American star Gauff, 18, will face world number one Iga Swiatek in the final on Saturday after defeating Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 in her semi-final.
Before penning her plea for gun control in the United States, she insisted she will treat victory or defeat on Saturday with equal level-headedness.
“Yeah it’s a Grand Slam final but there are so many things going on in the world, especially in the U.S. – I think it’s not important to stress over a tennis match,” she said in her on-court TV interview.
Gauff was talking just hours after a gunman killed at least four people at a hospital building in Tulsa, Oklahoma, – the latest in a string of mass shootings across the United States in recent weeks, reported AFP.
The killings come as Texas families bury their dead after a school shooting left 19 young children dead just eight days earlier. The attack at the school was one of the deadliest shootings at an American school since a gunman killed 26 citizens, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.
Gauff, a recent high school graduate, has also been speaking about how she has learned to enjoy life and just focus on the ball that is front of her and not be bogged down by external pressures.
“Your results or your job or how much money you make doesn’t define you as a person. As long as you love yourself, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks,” Gauff had said after quarterfinal win against Sloane Stephens
In 2020, Gauff delivered a speech in her hometown Delray Beach in Florida in a protest condemning George Floyd’s death. During nation-wide protests to mark the #BlackLivesMatter movement Gauff had said: “I demand change now. It’s sad that it takes another black man’s life to be lost for all of this to happen. You have to understand that this has been happening for years and not just to George Floyd.”
Here are some reactions to Gauff’s message:
With AFP inputs