Coco Gauff asks for end to gun violence after French Open victory

US tennis star writes 'End Gun Violence' on camera after reaching her first Grand Slam final

US tennis star Coco Gauff reached the French Open final after defeating Italy's Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 in Paris on Thursday. AFP
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US tennis star Coco Gauff made a plea to end gun violence in the US after her victory over Italian Martina Trevisan to reach the French Open final.

In a message written on a court camera after her semi-final success, Gauff wrote: "Peace. End Gun Violence" next to a drawing of a heart.

Gauff, who turned 18 in March, is the youngest American to reach a Grand Slam final since Serena Williams reached the US Open final at age 17 in 1999.

"Yeah, it's a Grand Slam final but there are so many things going on in the world right now, especially in the United States, a lot of stuff is happening right now," she said in an on-court interview after the match. "I am not going to stress over a tennis match."

Gauff said she wanted to spread the message to Europe and across the world, "and now I heard there's been like — I don't know how many mass shootings in the past two weeks".

The US has experienced a string of high-profile mass shootings in recent weeks, including one on Wednesday in a Tulsa, Oklahoma hospital that killed four people.

A racially motivated attack at a Buffalo supermarket killed 10 last month, and 19 children and two teachers were killed at a primary school in Uvalde, Texas last week.

Gauff, a native of Florida, added that she "had a couple of friends" who experienced the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in 2018 that resulted in the deaths of 17 people, 14 of whom were pupils.

The rising tennis star, who celebrated her high-school graduation during the French Open, added that the US needs "some reform, some change" following the recent shootings.

"I also want to use this moment to encourage people my age to vote locally cause those are the people that can really affect your community," Gauff said.

A bipartisan group of US senators was expected to continue work on a package of firearms legislation on Thursday as Congress faces increasing pressure to get tougher on gun control.

Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, said the group was making "rapid progress". Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, said he had "never seen more Republicans at the table willing to talk".

School security, mental health services and "red flag" laws have reportedly been at the centre of the nine-member group's conversations.

The US has already experienced 233 mass shootings in 2022, more than one per day this year, data from the Gun Violence Archive shows.

Updated: June 02, 2022, 7:33 PM