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3 tennis players who used on-court camera messages to raise social awareness, ft. Coco Gauff's message on gun violence

(From L) Dominic Thiem, Coco Gauff, and Andrey Rublev
(From L) Dominic Thiem, Coco Gauff, and Andrey Rublev
Aayush Majumdar

A modern tradition in tennis sees players sign the on-court camera after winning a match. This is mostly the norm on bigger courts where higher-ranked players play. While some players simply sign the camera, many use it to send messages to their fans.

Some tennis players also use the opportunity to raise awareness on certain social issues, appealing to their many fans across the world. The most recent example of this was American teenager Coco Gauff, who took a strong stand against violence with her camera message at the French Open.

On that note, here's a look at three players who have raised social awareness with their on-court messages.

#1 Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff at the 2022 French Open
Coco Gauff at the 2022 French Open

The 18-year-old recently collected the biggest win of her career, beating Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals of the French Open. Gauff is one of the most followed tennis players on the WTA tour and used the important occasion to convey a key message.

After winning the match, Gauff spoke out against gun violence in light of a mass shooting at a school in Texas, where 19 children and two teachers lost their lives.

Clearly affected by the incident, Gauff called for gun reforms, particularly in the US. She then wrote, "Peace. End Gun Violence" on the camera lens, with a picture of a heart alongside.

"Peace. End Gun Violence.❤️ Coco"18-year-old @CocoGauff's message after advancing to the #RolandGarros final. https://t.co/ohHlV2osAU
After advancing to the French Open final, Coco Gauff shared a message calling for peace and an end to gun violence. https://t.co/eGbgF8whNL

Speaking at a post-match news conference, the teenager further highlighted the importance of her message.

"I mean, for me, it's important, just as a person in the world, regardless of tennis player or not. I think for me it was just especially important just being in Europe and, you know, being where I know people globally around the world are for sure watching," Gauff said.
"I think that this is a problem, you know, in other parts of the world, but especially in America it's a problem that's, frankly, been happening over some years but obviously now it's getting more attention. But for me it's been an issue for years," she added.

#2 Andrey Rublev

Andrey Rublev at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis
Andrey Rublev at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis

Russian Andrey Rublev is another player who used his platform to send a key message, expressing solidarity for those affected by the war in Ukraine.

Shortly after his semifinal win at the Dubai Tennis Championships in February, the World No. 8 signed the on-court camera with a message saying, "No war please."

Rublev's message came just days after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Many tennis players, including Rublev and fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev, called for an end to the war during interviews and news conferences.

Rublev was quite affected by everything that was happening with regard to the war and highlighted the importance of peace during his Dubai campaign.

"I mean, I said in these moments you realize that my match is not important. It's not about my match, how is affect me. What's happening is much more terrible. Like I said, you realize how important is to have peace in the world and to respect each other no matter what, to be united. It's about that we should be take care of our earth and of each other. This is the most important thing," Rublev said.

#3 Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem at the BNP Paribas Open
Dominic Thiem at the BNP Paribas Open

Dominic Thiem has often spoken about the importance of ocean preservation over the last few years.

After winning one of the biggest titles of his career by beating Roger Federer at the 2019 Indian Wells Masters, Thiem wrote a message which read "Play for the ocean" on the camera lens.

As always, play for the ocean.❤️How can you not love Dominic Thiem!#NittoATPFinals #DominicThiem https://t.co/Wtd1cJmnA4

A staunch supporter of environment conservation, Thiem recently took to social media to spread awareness on the topic. Speaking on World Ocean Day, which is celebrated on 8 June annually, Thiem highlighted the importance of "reducing, recycling and reusing" to help ocean health.

"It doesn't matter if you are from an island surrounded by water or from a landlocked country, the ocean is absolutely vital to all of us," Thiem said.

Edited by Anirudh

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