Billie Jean King says future is ‘dynamite’ with Coco Gauff & Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka and Billie Jean King before the 2018 US Open final
Naomi Osaka, pictured with Billie Jean King before the 2018 US Open final, has won two Grand Slam titles
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Billie Jean King says the future for women’s tennis is “dynamite” on and off the court thanks to young stars like Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka.

American King, 76, was a trailblazer for gender equality in tennis in the 1970s, also using her platform to fight for other equal rights in society.

Gauff, 16, and Osaka, 22, have both protested and spoken out about racism following the death of George Floyd.

“I know them a little bit and they are amazing people,” said King.

At a peaceful protest in Florida last month, Gauff urged people to vote and act against racism.

Osaka wrote an editorial article for Esquire magazine earlier this week, outlining why she flew to join protests in Minnesota where Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was unarmed, died after a police officer knelt on his neck.

“Being ‘not racist’ is not enough. We have to be anti-racist,” wrote the Japanese player. external-link

Osaka is a two-time Grand Slam champion, having won back-to-back major titles at the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open.

Gauff emerged on the scene as a 15-year-old qualifier at Wimbledon last year, beating five-time champion Venus Williams on her way to the last 16.

The Florida teenager has since climbed to the verge of the top 50 and reached the Australian Open fourth round, losing to 21-year-old compatriot Sofia Kenin who went on to win the title in Melbourne.

“Coco has such leadership possibilities how she is already speaking out about Black Lives Matters, which is forcing us to go forward with equality and inclusion,” added 12-time Grand Slam singles champion King.

“She is so articulate, she could have been 40 or 50 years old speaking like that. And Osaka is speaking out a lot too. I think the future is dynamite.”

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