Ex-tennis stars Barbara Schett and Mats Wilander commended young female players for using their status and social media presence to raise awareness of disturbing issues facing society, calling for radical action to inspire a brighter future around the world.
Rising stars such as Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek and American teenage sensation Coco Gauff have spoken passionately about emotionally-charged subjects at the forefront of world affairs, such as the ongoing war in Ukraine, gun violence in the United States and abortions.
Swiatek, 21, and Gauff, 18, have shown great respect, maturity and empathy for their tender age when discussing issues of war and terror. Swiatek, who is in action against Alize Cornet at Wimbledon on Saturday, has now taken action by organising a charity exhibition event - due to take place in Krakow on July 23 - with the proceeds going to the children and teenagers of Ukraine.
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Schett hailed the likes of Swiatek, Gauff and Naomi Osaka as "a real inspiration" while describing them as "pioneers", expressing the need for more of such statements from the men's side of the game.
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"They're really into political statements, social statements as well, and we don't see that on the men's side really," Eurosport presenter Schett said. "It's great to see that they care about the world as well and trying to make people aware of what's going on as well.
"I would love to see it on the men's side a little bit more as well. There hasn't been many statements like that, it's usually all around the tennis, but now the girls, they're pioneers, that I have to say.
"I think they're a real inspiration, not just for the tennis world, but globally around the world and I'm sure in the future they're going to do that even more."
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In the modern era, social media has shown itself to be a force for good but equally a place where negative views can be aired. As drivers toward positive change, professional athletes have the ability to generate a huge following; their voices can be extremely powerful, not only in their individual sports, but amongst society in general.
Swiatek and Gauff are among the cluster of athletes classed as 'Generation Z' - anyone born between 1997 and 2010 - and Wilander believes they have shown "guts and knowledge" to confront these issues.
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The Swede highlighted the increased discussions around societal issues compared with years ago, while stressing the importance of players using their voices in the right way to change attitudes and influence change.
"With social media, everybody has a voice and can use it whichever way they want," Eurosport pundit Wilander said. "Also, there's a lot more social issues that have come to the forefront in the last 10 years, more probably than before. Maybe there are not more, but they are definitely more talked about now.
"They're using their platform as famous celebrities or professional athletes in the proper way, which I am all for, rather than taking a picture of a pair of shoes that you just bought in some store."
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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