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Delray Beach native Coco Gauff heading into French Open, Going for the Gold at Paris Olympics

Twenty year old South Florida native Coco Gauff is the U.S. Open champion. She is the also the highest-paid female athlete in the world. Gauff will be among the favorites when the French Open starts on Sunday in Paris. US coverage of the French Open will be split across NBC Sports, the Tennis Channel and Peacock.

Coco remains a beloved figure in Delray Beach. In March, she unveiled refurbished courts at the public park at Pompey Park courts where she played as a child. On the toes of her right sneaker is a quote from Gauff's father, Corey: "You can change the world with your racket.


On and off the court, Coco has never been afraid to use her voice. Not when she delivered an impromptu speech at a Black Lives Matter rally at the age of 16. And not now at age 20 when she’s preparing to vote for the first time in a U.S. presidential election later this year. While at the Italian Open, she spoke about her home state of Florida, getting involved and encouraged young people to vote.

She noted that it's "a crazy time to be a Floridian, especially a Black one at that."

“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, referring to a two-year-long controversy over banning books from the state’s schools.

"At the end of the day, it comes down to the youth and the community being outspoken," Gauff said at the Italian Open last week. "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'll leave who I vote to myself," she said. "I'm not publicly backing any candidate."


She had already burst onto the scene at 15 by becoming the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history and then making it to the fourth round in her Grand Slam debut in 2019. Then she reached her first major final at the 2022 French Open, finishing as the runner-up to Iga Swiatek. Concerning that loss to Swiatek at Roland Garros in 2022, Gauff feels she has some unfinished business in Paris. Because Paris is her favorite city. The city she traveled to for the first time at age 10 when she was invited to train at the academy run by Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams' former coach. The city where she won her first junior Grand Slam title by raising the French Open girls' trophy in 2018.

"I fell in love with the city because I went at such a young age and it felt so magical and I think that feeling has just stayed with me," Gauff said. While she's still learning to speak French — "I've been on and off learning since I was literally 10 years old. But one day I'll get there hopefully" — Gauff has developed a taste for Paris' culinary delicacies.

So what does she like to eat in the French capital? "A lot of croissants, obviously. I do like escargot. I know it's like a hit or miss between some people, but honestly don't mind the snails too much," Gauff said. "Crème brûlée is nice. And foie gras is nice. And hot chocolate. They have good hot chocolate in Paris."

It’s not just the French Open title that the third-ranked Gauff is chasing at Roland Garros this year. She also wants gold — more than one — at the Paris Olympics.

Tennis will be played at Roland Garros during the Olympics and Gauff is extra motivated, having missed the Tokyo Games after testing positive for the coronavirus.

"It's at the top of my goal board," said Gauff, who wants to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles. "Getting a medal would mean almost as (much as) a Grand Slam. I would choose a Grand Slam more but I would choose maybe a doubles gold medal over a doubles slam. … I just want to win a medal."

We will be cheering you on all the way. Go Coco! Watch Paris Olympics on NBC and Peacock July 26th - Aug. 11th.


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