Coco Gauff burst onto the professional tennis scene earlier this year at Wimbledon, making a huge run that included defeating Venus Williams.
As her fame grew over the summer, Gauff was forced to navigate the waters of keeping a level head while also trying to use her voice and platform for the betterment of society.
“Wimbledon has given me an opportunity to raise money and raise awareness for other things and I’m glad that I was able to,” she told The Guardian in an interview published Wednesday. “With every match I win I seem to get more and more people following me, so that’s good. And that means more and more awareness for subjects I care about. I always wanted to not just be a tennis player.”
The 15-year-old phenom said she is interested in climate change activism and looking for ways to change her own lifestyle.
“Lately, younger people are leading movements and I guess the world has to get used to it because we’re used to older people telling us what to do,” she told UK newspaper. “My generation has just decided it was time to speak up on our own about things. I do follow the [climate] movement a lot and I’m learning about ways we can better change, at least my lifestyle and the way my family live.”
She added: “It’s great when they say I’m young and I’m doing great things. It will get frustrating when they say: ‘You’re young, you don’t know any better.’ I think it’s a good thing to point out that to a younger person but I think we shouldn’t put someone’s intelligence down no matter what.”
Gauff’s hype is only going to get bigger in 2020. She won her first Women’s Tennis Association title last weekend at the Linz Open in Austria. And though she lost in the first round at the Luxembourg Open, the sky appears to be the limit for her.