Tennis legend Martina Navratilova says American teen Coco Gauff is one of the people who can change the world for the better, while speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today show.
Martina Navratilova on how impressed she is with Coco Gauff
Navratilova says she is very impressed with 16 year old American teen Coco Gauff both on and off the court.
Gauff has been one of the tennis players who have taken a strong stand against racial discrimination in recent weeks. "She’s just so poised on and off the court. She was just really brought up with great qualities and it shows how she plays, it shows how she’s active now politically.
I smile so much when I see the reach that she already has now and she will have in the future. She’s one of those people that can change the world for the better and she seems to want to do that. " The 18-time Grand Slam singles champion says she is happy that tennis players have supported the movement.
"It's essential people get involved, because they're seeing how much politics can affect their lives and their freedoms. Sports has always been at the forefront of social change and it can be that again, with Black Lives Matter and equality for all.
Tennis has had its share of obstacles but we've been at the forefront of social change - and with Coco Gauff leading the charge, we're still there." The American added that inequalities have always been there in tennis, even during her time - recalling the tough time she and Zina Garrison, the player she beat in the 1990 Wimbledon final, had while finding sponsors.
Garrison recently also spoke about how she did not have a clothing deal even while being ranked in the Top 10 for a few years and how Navratilova had helped during that time. "It was a sad commentary on what players of color - particularly women - go through.I also had a hard time getting a sponsor.
Hers was because she was Black, mine was because I was gay. Even as the No.1 player in the world I had a hard time getting sponsorships - so I made my own clothing line." Martina Navratilova won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 major women's doubles titles, and 10 major mixed doubles titles, for a combined total of 59 major titles, marking the Open Era record for the most Grand Slam titles won by one player, male or female. She is regarded by many as among the all-time greats in women's tennis.