TIME named World No.3 and reigning US Open champion Coco Gauff to its annual Women of the Year list, recognizing extraordinary leaders fighting for a more equal world.

Gauff, 19, is the youngest woman and the only athlete on the list.

"Having an activist in the family -- Gauff’s grandmother was the first Black student at her Delray Beach, Fla., high school in 1961 -- has shaped her perspective," Sean Gregory wrote for TIME. "In the days following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Gauff posted about the injustice on social media and spoke at a protest."

Said Gauff in the article: "It was to the point where I was crying about it, because I felt like I had to say something. She addressed the crowd in Delray Beach: If you are choosing silence, you’re choosing the side of the oppressor."

"My goal is to tell my grandkids that I was on the right side of history."

- Coco Gauff

For Gauff, activism and advocacy come naturally. Growing up, her father reminded her, "You can change the world with your racquet." She remains committed to using her platform to speak out.

"Especially in this day and age, I will say growing up in tennis, coming from the lineage of Billie Jean King, Venus Williams, Althea Gibson, I feel like this sport is very popular in advocating for equality and justice," Gauff told reporters on Wednesday at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. "I feel comfortable doing that.

"Growing up with my family, my family history, I feel like that's just something I knew, whether I was going to be a tennis player or not, even if I was a kid in a regular high school, I would probably be part of some club or something to that degree. I just feel like that's something I've been passionate about since I was little."

This week in Dubai, Gauff was asked by Egyptian reporter Reem Abulleil if she was following the crisis in Gaza. Once again, Gauff spoke out.

"I feel like it's very ignorant to say you're not aware because it is everywhere, you see it on the news and I think it's important for us as privileged civilians to do our research and just continuing to demand our leaders to make change and I will never not advocate for that," she said in an exclusive interview with The National

"And I do advocate for peace and I advocate for the thousands, I think it's almost like I said millions at this point, of kids and innocent people being killed for a conflict that I feel like shouldn't be happening."

Gauff was named to the list alongside activists, scientists and artists, including Academy Award-nominated director Greta Gerwig, Grammy-nominated vocalist Andra Day, climate activist Jacqui Patterson, and economist and Nobel Laureate Claudia Goldin. She will attend a celebratory gala in Los Angeles next month before competing at the BNP Paribas Open. 

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"Obviously tennis is the main priority," Gauff said. "Once I step off the court, I'm a person. I'm not hitting strokes while I'm eating food and everything. I'm actually thinking.

"I'm a person. I have opinions. I have thoughts. I feel like I have a responsibility with the platform tennis has given me to not use it in vain."

The full list of 12 honorees and related tributes appear in the upcoming issue of TIME will be available on newsstands on Friday, March 1 and  now at time.com/woty