“Use The Power That We Have”: Reigning US Open Champ Coco Gauff Calls On Young People To Vote

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Coco Gauff is many things: the reigning U.S. Open champion, a Paris Olympics-bound athlete, and currently one of the highest-paid female athletes on the globe. But as the adage goes, you never forget where you come from.

As the daughter of two Del Ray Beach natives, Coco Gauff is frustrated with Florida. The 20-year-old is poised to vote in her first U.S. presidential election and has issued a call to action to her fellow young Americans about voting, stating, “Use the power that we have.”

This is not the first time Gauff has been extremely vocal on issues close to her heart. For instance, at only 16 years old, She delivered a powerful impromptu message at a Black Lives Matter rally. In 2020, She spoke up again about racial injustice in front of Delray Beach’s City Hall.

Gauff talked politics when she sat down for an interview with The Associated Press. It is “a crazy time to be a Floridian, especially a Black one at that,” said Gauff.

“We aren’t happy with the current state of our government in Florida, especially everything with the books and just the way our office operates,” Gauff stated, referencing the book ban controversy that has been playing out in Florida after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new bill into law.

However, the DeSantis team did issue a rebuttal about Gauff’s assertions, stating that the tennis phenom’s words do not take into account Florida’s record tourism. Spokesman Jeremy Redfern wrote in an email, “Florida is thriving.”

This appeared to be somewhat of a follow-up to remarks Gauff made last week at the Italian Open. “At the end of the day, it comes down to the youth and the community being outspoken…So I encourage everyone to vote, and use your voice regardless of who you vote for. There’s no point in complaining (about) the political climate of the world if you don’t exercise your right to vote.”

“I feel like sometimes in my generation, people think their vote doesn’t count,” added Gauff. “We should just all just use our voices and use the power that we have.”

While Gauff is encouraging young people to vote, she is not publicly endorsing anyone. “I’ll leave who I vote to myself,” Gauff says. “I’m not publicly backing any candidate.”

Gauff is one of the favorites for the French Open starting on Sunday. She’s coming off the heels of a semifinals loss in Rome, but is excited about her chances to gain a new title. “I think from the start of the clay till now, I feel like my confidence is definitely very high,” Gauff said.

“Like, it sucks to lose, but I know I lost playing the right way. I know that I’m a good player and that I can do better in those moments. I think I’m just trusting myself and my practice at that. I think the way that I lost today, it wasn’t because a wing or a shot broke down, it’s because she was the better player. I think going into Roland Garros, like if you asked me pretournament and now, I feel like I’m a different player in terms of just how I’ve been playing.”

But on and off the court—Gauff is never far away from her roots. She only has to look down at the toes of her right shoe, which has the words of her father Corey, “You can change the world with your racket.”  

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