Gauff eyes ‘right side of history’ after Time magazine recognition, Latest Tennis News - The New Paper

Gauff eyes ‘right side of history’ after Time magazine recognition

DUBAI – US Open champion Coco Gauff says that she is committed to fighting for equality and justice and hopes she will ultimately be seen as “on the right side of history”, after being named as one of Time magazine’s Women of the Year on Feb 21.

The American has been outspoken from a young age, and grew up with activism engrained in her DNA.

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 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 Feb 21 against Karolina Pliskova.

She 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 added.

The world No. 3 also said she was not 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.”

On the court, Gauff snapped Pliskova’s 11-match winning streak, claiming a hard-fought 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 win to reach a second consecutive Dubai quarter-final.

The teenager, who won Auckland at the start of the year and made the semi-finals of the Australian Open, lost her opener in Doha last week and overcame a shaky start against Pliskova to reach her third quarter-final of the season.

But she had an extended argument with the umpire Pierre Bacchi in the second set at 2-6, 4-2, deuce, complaining that he made a late call to incorrectly overrule her serve then refused to award her the point, despite Pliskova missing the return well before the late call was made.

Gauff repeatedly asked for the supervisor to come to the court but Bacchi would not relent. After failing to convince him, she ended the five-minute discussion and held serve for a 5-2 advantage.

Pliskova saved four set points on the Gauff serve and broke for 4-5 but the American was unnerved and grabbed the next game to take the match into a decider.

A crucial break for Gauff in the eighth game of the final set was enough for the third seed to complete a tough win and set up a quarter-final against Anna Kalinskaya.

“I don’t usually advocate that hard for things unless I’m 100 per cent sure,” said Gauff, in another sign of how firm her personality is on and off the court.

When told she was right about Bacchi’s late call, she added: “Okay, so I guess is he going to apologise? I’ll let you know.” – AFP