Following her semi-final win at Roland Garros on Thursday to advance to her first Grand Slam singles final, the 18-year-old wrote on a nearby camera lens – as is tradition after a victoire. But instead of just his signature, Gauff added “Peace End Gun Violence” with an image of a heart.

After her 6-3 6-1 win in straight sets over Italy’s Martina Trevisan, the American explained that she hadn’t planned to write this message in advance, but wanted to express the message “important”.

“It’s important, just like a person in the world, regardless of the tennis player or not. I think, for me, it was especially important to be in Europe and to be where I know people around the world are watching for sure,” she says.

“I think it’s a problem in other parts of the world, but especially in America, it’s a problem that, frankly, has been happening for a few years, but obviously now it’s getting more attention. But for me , it is a problem for years.

“For me, it’s kind of close to home. I had friends who were on the set of Parkland. I remember watching this whole experience like pretty much firsthand, seeing and to have friends who are going through this whole experience luckily they were able to i just think it’s crazy i think i was maybe 14 or 13 when it happened, and still nothing has exchange.

“I think it was just a message for people back home to watch and for people around the world to watch. I hope this gets into people’s heads in the office to hopefully turn things around. .”

Gauff’s message comes after a recent series of mass shootings in the United States.

In May, an 18-year-old gunman shot and killed 19 children and two adults at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, before being killed by law enforcement officers. Earlier this month, 10 people were killed in a racially motivated shooting at a Buffalo supermarket by a suspect in tactical gear who was broadcasting the attack live.
A shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Wednesday left five people dead, including the shooter.
On Thursday, US President Joe Biden made a fervent call for tougher gun laws, including a ban on assault weapons, tougher background check laws and a higher minimum purchase age. .

Use Platforms for Change

Gauff explained that sports stars should use their platforms to effect change, and that she learned a lot about having a voice from other top athletes.

“Certainly, I would say LeBron James, Serena (Williams), Billie Jean (King), Colin (Kaepernick), the list goes on, Naomi (Osaka), it really continues on those issues,” she said.

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“I think now the athletes are more, I feel more comfortable talking about this stuff. I often feel like we’re put in a box where people are always saying, ‘Oh, sports and politics should be kept separate and all that.’ And I say, yes, but also at the same time, I am a human first before being a tennis player.

Gauff plays a forehand against Trevisan.

“If it interests me, I wouldn’t even consider the politics of gun violence; I think it’s just life in general. I don’t think it’s politics at all. But just in general, I think I am a human So of course I will care about these issues and talk about them.

“When people make those comments, I won’t be an athlete forever. There will be a time when I retire and all that, and I’ll still be a human. So of course I care about those topics.

“I think sport gives you the platform to maybe get that message out to more people.”

Gauff will face women’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the French Open final on Saturday.

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