Coco Gauff, upset with ‘current state’ of Florida government, says it’s a ‘crazy time’ to be a Black resident

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Coco Gauff is encouraging young people and her peers to vote, as she is upset with the “current state” of the Florida government.

The reigning U.S. Open champion resides in the Sunshine State and pushed back against Gov. Ron DeSantis regarding book bans.

“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,” Gauff said at the Italian Open last week.

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Coco Gauff between points

Coco Gauff of the United States is seen between points against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus during their Women’s Singles Final match on Day 13 of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Sept. 9, 2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Coco Gauff)

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

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

She noted that it is “a crazy time to be a Floridian, especially a Black one at that.”

DeSantis’ camp clapped right back, though.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives a political speech at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on April 1, 2023 in Garden City, New York. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

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“It is definitely ‘a crazy time to be a Floridian,’ with the number one economy in the nation, the best state for education and parental empowerment (with no banned books), record-breaking tourism, and being the number one destination for Americans leaving other states behind,” spokesperson Jeremy Redfern said in a statement, via The Daily Mail. “With the leadership of Governor DeSantis, Florida is thriving.”

Gauff did add that she is leaving “who I vote [for] myself” and is “not publicly backing any candidate.”

Gauff has been speaking out about racial injustice and police brutality ever since that speech in 2020 in front of City Hall in her hometown of Delray Beach.

Still, Gauff remains a public figure in the Delray Beach community. In March, she unveiled refurbished courts at the public park where she played as a child. Additionally, she has been playing with the coordinates of those Pompey Park courts inscribed on the toes of her left tennis sneaker.

The 20-year-old won her first grand slam in Queens last year, defeating Aryna Sabalenka. She became the youngest American, male or female, to win a U.S. Open since Serena Williams did so at age 19 in 2001 (Williams also won two years prior when she was 17). 

Coco Gauff holds the trophy

Sep 9, 2023; Flushing, NY, USA; Coco Gauff of the United States celebrates with the championship trophy after her match against Aryna Sabalenka in the women’s singles final on day thirteen of the 2023 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, Sept. 9, 2023. (Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports)

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Gauff also joined Williams and Tracy Austin as the only American teenagers to win the tournament (she was 19 when she won).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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