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Roger Federer can say he can beat me because of his skill level, not because he's a man: Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff at the 2020 Australian Open
Coco Gauff at the 2020 Australian Open
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 12 Aug 2020, 20:18 IST
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A few weeks ago Coco Gauff had thrown her weight behind the 'Black Lives Matter' movement in the USA, establishing herself as an athlete who is not afraid to raise her voice for social causes. And now the teenage sensation has also spoken out against sexism, making an unlikely comparison between herself and Roger Federer in response to a particularly distasteful comment from a fan.

Coco Gauff cites Roger Federer example to shut down sexist remark on social media

Roger Federer at the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters
Roger Federer at the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters

While answering a question on the social media app Tik Tok, Coco Gauff was enraged by one of her followers insinuating that there is an 'unmeasurable skill gap' between men's and women's tennis.

"Bro what do you not understand she plays GIRLS tennis, he plays BOYS tennis, the skill gap is unmeasurable. A pro girl wouldn't even win boys states," a user named 'levipixton' said.

Coco Gauff didn't hold back in her reply, and pointed out in detail how the comment reeked of misogyny and disrespect.

"First things first: even though I am a girl, I don't play 'girls' tennis. I play women's tennis, I play with grown women. So that's one thing," Gauff asserted.

The 16-year-old emphasized that it's fine to say you're better than someone because of your higher skill level, but it's not acceptable to claim superiority by virtue of your gender.

"As an athlete, I have no problem in people saying they are better than me because their skill level is better than me," she continued. "But if you think you are better than me for the sole reason that you think you're a boy and I'm a girl... That doesn't make any sense."

Coco Gauff then went on to cite the example of Roger Federer as a player who is better than her due to his prodigious skills - rather than just because he is a man. Gauff admitted that Roger Federer's actual game is at a considerably higher level, but that that doesn't apply to every single male.

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"For example - Roger Federer," Gauff continued. "If Roger Federer says he can beat me, he 100% can say that because of skill level and his actual game is way better than mine. But if you say that you can beat me solely because of the fact that I'm a girl, that's stupid."

Coco Gauff had taken the world by storm at last year's Wimbledon. Entering the tournament aged just 15, she defeated Venus Williams in the first-round - a player she has often described as her idol.

Gauff and her family have spoken about their admiration for Roger Federer previously too; a clip of the two meeting each other at Wimbledon last year had gone viral.

Recently, with protests raging across the world (and particularly in Coco Gauff's home country) against racism, the American has been outspoken in her support for movements led by people of color.

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Coco Gauff has kicked off her post-lockdown campaign at the WTA Top Seed Open in Lexington. After a first-round win against Caroline Dolehide, she is set to go toe-to-toe with World No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka.

Published 12 Aug 2020, 17:50 IST
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