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Gauff signs camera calling for gun control: “A message for people all around the world”

Coco Gauff advanced to the French Open semi-finals on Thursday, but she also made headlines for a different reason. The teenager called for an end to gun violence when she signed the camera following her victory

Coco Gauff about gun control, Roland-Garros 2022 Coco Gauff about gun control, Roland-Garros 2022 © Michael Baucher / Panoramic

At only 18 years old, Coco Gauff has already made a name for herself on the court but also off the court. Sure, her tennis results would be speak loud enough by themselves. But for a teenager wise beyond her years, that isn’t enough.

Gauff once again made headlines with both her play and her words on Thursday at Roland-Garros. Not only did the American book a spot in her first-ever Grand Slam singles final with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Martina Trevisan, but she also took a stance on one of the most important political issues plaguing her country right now: gun violence.

After winning her semi-final match, Gauff wrote “Peace” followed by “End Gun Violence” on the camera.

Afterward, the media wanted to talk more about the camera signing than the tennis.

It was the first subject brought up by NBC announcer Maria Taylor in the post-match interview and social issues took up basically the entire first half of Gauff’s press conference.

“It’s important, just as a person in the world — regardless of (being a) tennis player or not,” the 18-year-old said of her awareness of issues beyond her sport. “For me it was just especially important just being in Europe and being where I know people globally around the world are for sure watching. I think that this is a problem, in other parts of the world, but especially in America it’s a problem that’s frankly been happening over some years. Obviously now it’s getting more attention, but for me it’s been an issue for years.”

The recent elementary school shooting in Texas has pretty much the whole world talking about the issue, but for Gauff individually the problem dates back to the Parkland massacre in 2018.

“For me it’s kind of close to home,” she explained. “I had some friends that were a part of the Parkland shooting. I remember watching that whole experience like pretty much firsthand, seeing and having friends go through that whole experience. Luckily they were able to make it out of it. I just think it’s crazy. I think I was maybe 14 when that happened and still nothing has changed.

“I think that was just a message for the people back at home to watch and for people who are all around the world to watch. Hopefully it gets into the heads of people in office to hopefully change things.

My dad told me I could change the world with my racquet. He didn’t mean that by like just playing tennis.

Coco Gauff

This isn’t the first time Gauff has been outspoken about political issues. She has been active in various rallies for social justice back home in the United States — including the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement dating back to 2020. So it would be fair to consider her a relative veteran when it comes to involvement even though she is just 18 years old.

It’s another source of pride — in addition to her generational tennis skills — for her parents.

“My team around me knows that if I want to say something, I’m going to say it. But particularly if I do say something, most of the time I put a lot of thought into what I’m going to say and how I’m going to say it. So, if anything, my team and my parents encourage me to write that.

“Since I was younger — I know I said this before — my dad told me I could change the world with my racquet. He didn’t mean that by like just playing tennis. He meant speaking out on issues like this. The first thing my dad said to me after I got off court (was) ‘I’m proud of you and I love what you wrote on the camera.'”

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