Tennis world lauds Coco Gauff's impassioned speech on racial injustice

Tennis world lauds Coco Gauff's impassioned speech on racial injustice

"I think it's sad that I'm here protesting the same thing (my grandmother) did 50 years ago," Gauff said to peaceful protesters at Delray Beach City Hall on Wednesday.

In her brief time on tour, Coco Gauff has shown an ever-expanding arsenal of weapons on the tennis court. Her blistering serve and exceptional foot-speed are likely to pace the WTA tour for years to come, but her most impressive asset mat be her unflappable poise under pressure. Last year, we saw that at Wimbledon and the US Open, among other tournaments where the teenager punched well above her weight. This year, it's come to the fore off the court.

On Wednesday evening, the 16-year-old Gauff delivered an impassioned speech against racial injustice, demanding change now to a crowd of peaceful protesters in front of Delray Beach City Hall.

“I think it's sad that I'm here protesting the same thing (my grandmother) did 50 years ago," Gauff said in her opening remarks.

As she's done so often, Gauff rose to the occasion, her eloquent words resonating with the Delray Beach community as well as many influential figures around the world. She has since received an outpouring of praise on social media.

In an effort to connect with her many younger fans, Gauff pointed to pop culture. 

“If you listen to black music, if you like black culture, if you have black friends—this is your fight too.”

"Coco is clearly wise beyond her years," said Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of Black Popular Culture and Chair of the Department of African & African American Studies at Duke University.

"Her comments highlight the contradictions with young whites who consume so much black popular culture, but disconnect with the humanity of black artists and the communities that they come from."