Home sports Sports Coco Gauff says overturning Roe v. Wade is ‘going backwards’, Serena Williams ‘not ready’ to share thoughts | CNN English Headline

Sports Coco Gauff says overturning Roe v. Wade is ‘going backwards’, Serena Williams ‘not ready’ to share thoughts | CNN English Headline

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CNN
 — 

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a case of history repeating itself and “going backwards”, American tennis star Coco Gauff said Saturday.

Friday’s opinion held that there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion, with abortion rights to be determined by states, unless Congress acts.

Speaking ahead of the start of Wimbledon’s main draw, Gauff said she was “disappointed” with the decision.

“I feel bad for future women and women now, but I also feel bad for those who protested for this,” the 18-year-old told reporters.

“To see that decision be reversed, I just think that’s history repeating itself and I feel like, at least from my reading and researching because I do like history … having this decision reversed just feels like we’re almost going backwards.”

The Supreme Court’s opinion has sparked concerns that the ruling could open the door for courts to overturn same-sex marriage, contraception and other rights.

Though the majority opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, attempted to wall off its holding in Friday’s abortion case from those other rulings, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote separately to call explicitly for those other rulings to be revisited.

Gauff added that she was concerned the ruling could be the first of other similar decisions on social issues.

“I feel like it also kind of puts a lead way in maybe to reverse other things that we – I wouldn’t say me personally – worked so hard to reverse.”

The World no. 12 is set to face Romania’s Elena-Gabriela Ruse, ranked 43 places below her, in the first round at the All England Tennis Club on Monday.

Gauff will not face any Russian or Belarusian opponents at Wimbledon after the tournament organizer’s decision to bar players from the two nations competing following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Quizzed on the move, the American said she understood “both sides”.

“For me it’s a difficult decision just because I do know a lot of the Belarusian and Russian athletes and I know – at least the ones that I spoke to – [they] definitely don’t support what’s happening in Ukraine right now,” Gauff said.

“But I also do understand the side of trying to put global pressure on the Russian government to pull out of Ukraine and how sports can kind of impact that, so I think both sides of the situation are just tricky.”

The 18-year-old arrives in Wimbledon on the back of a first grand slam singles final appearance at the French Open in June.

Though she suffered a straight sets defeat to an imperious Iga Swiatek in Paris – as well as losing in the doubles final – Gauff believes the experience has only made her stronger as she looks improve upon her career-best fourth round runs at Wimbledon in 2019 and 2021.

Gauff serves against Swiatek during the French Open Singles Final.

“A lot of positives to take from it, that I can play two weeks of highly competitive tennis in two events. I would’ve never thought I would’ve made the final of both,” she said.

“I learned a lot from that final and I’m going to take what I learned into here [Wimbledon]. Hopefully I go far, but it was definitely the experience of a lifetime and hopefully I can recreate it.”

Meanwhile, seven-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams said she had no thoughts she was “ready to share right now” on Roe v. Wade being overturned.

The 40-year-old also decided against commenting on the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing.

“Another heavy subject that involves a tremendous amount of politics and from what I understand in government and I’m going to step away from that,” she told reporters.

Needing one more triumph to match Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam singles titles, Williams returns to Wimbledon after being forced to retire from last year’s opening round due to a leg injury.

Williams plays a backhand during a training session ahead of Wimbledon.

A year-long absence from the sport ended with a run to the doubles semi-finals of the Eastbourne International alongside Ons Jabeur last week, but the pair were forced to retire after the Tunisian suffered an injury.

Ahead of her opening match against world No. 113 Harmony Tan, Williams reflected on the “surreal” feeling of returning to Wimbledon after a “tough” year.

“I gave everything I could. Just everyday getting ready or trying to make it,” she said.

“Hung up my rackets for a little bit until I could just heal because it’s a tough injury to have what I had last year. It was no fun.”

Asked how close she came to leaving the sport completely, Williams said she never retired.

“I just needed to heal physically, mentally … I had no plans to be honest,” she added.

“I just didn’t know when I would come back. I didn’t know how I would come back. Obviously, Wimbledon is such a great place to be and it just kind of worked out.”

Wimbledon runs from June 27 until July 10.



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