Coco Gauff urges young Americans to get out and vote: 'Use the power that we have'

ROME, ITALY - MAY 13: Coco Gauff of the United States talks to the media after defeating Paula Badosa of Spain in the fourth round on Day Eight of the Internazionali BNL D'Italia at Foro Italico on May 13, 2024 in Rome, Italy (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)
Coco Gauff wants young people like her to get out and vote. (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Coco Gauff has a quote from her father, Cory, printed on the toe of her right sneaker: "You can change the world with your racket.” And that's just what she's trying to do.

In Rome last week for the Italian Open, the 20-year-old US Open champion used her platform as the highest-paid female athlete in the world to discuss issues that matter to her as a Florida resident and a young Black voter.

Gauff told the Associated Press it's “a crazy time to be a Floridian, especially a Black one at that.”

“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,” she said, referring to the controversial banning of explicit books from school libraries that Governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law. (He signed a law narrowing the law's focus last month, though content restrictions on race and LGBTQ identities in schools still exist.)

Gauff believes that those who complain about the state of politics should put their words into action and participate in the political system by voting.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to the youth and the community being outspoken,” Gauff said via the AP. “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.”

She wants the complainers to come out and vote, but she also wants all young people in general to realize they can have a say in what happens in the future.

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

Gauff, who lost to No. 1 ranked Iga Swiatek in the French Open final in 2023, is expected to be a top seed when Roland Garros opens next week. She's currently ranked No. 3 in the word, behind Swiatek at No. 1 and Aryna Sabalenka at No. 2.