Gauff eyes 'right side of history' after Time magazine recognition

tennis21 February 2024 16:13| Ā© AFP
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Coco Gauff Ā© Getty Images

US Open champion Coco Gauff says she is committed to fighting for equality and justice and hopes she'll ultimately be seen as "on the right side of history", after being named as one of Time magazine's women of the year on Wednesday.

Gauff has been outspoken from a young age, and grew up with activism engrained in her DNA, passed on from her grandmother Yvonee Lee Odom, who desegregated her high school in Delray Beach in the early 1960s.

As a 16-year-old, Gauff stood up in a Black Lives Matter rally and gave a speech and earlier this week in Dubai, the now 19-year-old told UAE's The National newspaper she was advocating for peace in Gaza.

"I think it's important for us as privileged civilians to do our research and just continuing to demand our leaders to make change and I will never not advocate for that," said Gauff, who won her Dubai last-16 tie on Wednesday against Karolina Pliskova.

Gauff said she felt "honoured" to be named on Time's list of Women of the Year and wants to follow in the footsteps of tennis legends like Billie Jean King, Althea Gibson, and Venus Williams, who have all fought for equality across different generations.

"I like to say I'm more than a tennis player. I feel like this sport is very popular in advocating for equality and justice. I feel comfortable doing that," Gauff told reporters in Dubai.

The world No 3 said she wasn't too concerned about any backlash she might face for speaking her mind, irrespective of the topic, adding: "My goal is to tell my grandkids that I was on the right side of history. That's why I'm not too worried about that."