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US Open champ Coco Gauff hopes for ceasefire in Gaza and for Israeli hostages to be returned home

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Coco Gauff, who was named to TIME magazine’s 2024 Women of the Year list, is hoping for peace in Gaza and that Israeli hostages taken by Hamas are released, but the young tennis star fears the worst as the conflict continues. 

Speaking to the magazine in an article published Wednesday, the 2023 U.S. Open champion addressed the ongoing war which began on Oct. 7 when Hamas militants attacked Israel’s southern border, killing more than 1,200 people, with some 250 others taken hostage.

Coco Gauff of the United States in action against Nadia Podoroska of Argentina in the second round on Day 7 of the Miami Open Presented by Itau at Hard Rock Stadium on March 22, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Robert Prange/Getty Images)

“I don’t really support the mass violence going on to innocent people on both ends of the spectrum,” Gauff said. “And there’s one side that’s getting killed at more drastically faster rates than the other side.” 

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The magazine said that Gauff “wants Hamas to release all Israeli hostages and wants to see a ceasefire, but she fears that neither side is hearing the other.” 

“I feel like it’s becoming more, if you don’t support what’s happening in Gaza, it makes you feel like you’re antisemitic,” Gauff added. “I feel far from that.”

Coco Gauff between points

Coco Gauff of the United States is seen between points against Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus during their Women’s Singles Final match on Day Thirteen of the 2023 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 09, 2023 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Coco Gauff)

Days after the Oct. 7 attacks, the WTA released a statement condemning “the horrific acts of terrorism.”

“The WTA mourns the loss of innocent lives in Israel, grieves with those still searching for loved ones, and condemns the horrific acts of terrorism and violence in the region. We stand with our Israeli athletes — and all WTA athletes including those from areas of conflict around the world. We pray for the recovery of the wounded, the healing of communities impacted, and peace in the region.”

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Gauff also posted a message on Instagram at the time condemning “any acts of terrorism.” 

“I am heartbroken by the tragic loss of innocent lives and firmly denounce any acts of terrorism. My heart goes out to all of the innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives involved,” she said in the post, via Tennis World. 

Coco Gauff talks to reporters

Coco Gauff of the United States reacts during a press conference ahead of the Australian Open tennis championships at Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024.  (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

“The heinous nature of these actions is incomprehensible, and my family’s hearts go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones, those who have been injured, and those who are still missing. I hold onto hope for peace in the region and stand firm on fighting all forms of hatred. My family and I will continue to pray for all of the families in mourning.”

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Gauff, 20, told the magazine that she won’t “shy” away from discussing the topic. 

“I am not one to shy away from something that I feel informed about,” she said. “And I feel pretty informed about this topic.”

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