Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff 'great young leaders' during era of racial tension - Pam Shriver
Both Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff spent last summer speaking out on political issues in the USA, with the American addressing Black Lives Matter rallies and the Japanese star honouring victims of racial violence during the last US Open. Pam Shriver has praised the pair, saying their advocacy makes them leaders of the tour for the future.
Coco Gauff of the United States embraces Naomi Osaka of Japan
Published 26/01/2021 at 12:32 GMT | Updated 26/01/2021 at 12:51 GMT
Former WTA star Pam Shriver has praised Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff for their maturity and leadership during the age of Covid-19 and political tension in the USA.
While Osaka represents Japan internationally, she was brought up in New York and lives in California, while 16-year-old Gauff is the hottest prospect in American tennis after several historic tournament runs, despite her young age.
Both were vocal when racial tension was dominating the USA last summer, with Gauff speaking at Black Lives Matter rallies and Osaka honouring people of colour who have died at the hands of police or white civilians during the US Open.
"They're both obviously of colour and they come at it from a different perspective than say I would as a person who grew up with what you might call white privilege.
Watch Coco Gauff's speech about George's Floyd death
"I think they've been able to communicate really effectively. Gauff is not yet 17 and she was asked to speak at a Black Lives Matter peaceful protest in her home state of Florida towards the beginning of the pandemic. She did so off the cuff, but beautifully.
She has all the makings of a great leader for women's tennis for a long time.
Naomi Osaka honours George Floyd
Image credit: Getty Images
"What Naomi Osaka did at the US Open, to walk out there in her first match with the mask of a victim of police brutality and then to say she had a total of seven masks.
"We all know in a total draw of 128 if you're going to win it you have got to win seven matches. And what does she end up doing? She ends up winning the US Open, so all seven names were able to come out on the court with her.
The story of Osaka's masks at US Open to highlight racial injustice
"During a time when a lot of athletes were able to use their platform for peaceful protesting that was one of the more effective ways and really brave. She put herself right out there and she ended up winning the US Open.
"I like the fact that Naomi has come out of her shy shell and she realises that given her ethnicity, her background, she can be a really great and effective spokesperson for a lot of people."