Days before her appearance at a protest in her hometown of Delray Beach, Florida, Gauff released a video in which she asked “Am I next?” after the death of George Floyd.
Floyd, a black American, died in Minnesota in May after a police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Floyd was unarmed.
Eighteen-time Grand Slam winner Navratilova has been vocal in her praise of Gauff, and speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the 63-year-old said: “She’s just so poised on and off the court. She was just really brought up with great qualities and it shows how she plays, it shows how she’s active now politically.
“I smile so much when I see the reach that she already has now and she will have in the future.
“She’s one of those people that can change the world for the better and she seems to want to do that.
“I think the way things are going now, with some countries making great progress and some countries, like ours here in America – in my opinion – going backwards in time, I think it’s essential that people get involved.
“Because I think they’re seeing how much politics can affect their lives and their freedoms.
“Sport has always been at the forefront of social change and now it can be that again with Black Lives Matter and just equality for all.
“Tennis has had its share of obstacles, but I think overall we’ve been at the forefront of social change and it seems like now with Coco Gauff leading the charge, we’re still there.”