Naomi Osaka wore a Black Lives Matter shirt on the court after opting to compete in her rescheduled semifinal match Friday
Naomi Osakaarrived at the Western & Southern Open Friday wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt.
- The 22-year-old
tennissuperstar decided to play in the tournament semifinal Friday after previously pulling out of the competition to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
- Following Osaka's initial scratch, the USTA, ATP, and WTA tours all chose to pause play to take "a stance against racial inequality and social injustice."
Naomi Osaka played tennis on Friday, but not without making a statement that reverberated beyond the court.
The 22-year-old tennis superstar donned a "Black Lives Matter" T-shirt when she arrived at the USTA's Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York on Friday morning for her Western & Southern Open semifinal match against Elise Mertens.Though Osaka initially pulled out of the tournament to take a stand against the police shooting of Jacob Blake, she later decided to compete after the USTA, ATP, and WTA tours — plus the Western & Southern Open itself — all chose to pause play to take "a stance against racial inequality and social injustice."
"Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman," Osaka wrote in the note. "I don't expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction."Her decision came with protests erupting around the US — including by other major athletes — in light of Kenosha, Wisconsin, officers shooting the 29-year-old Black man in front of his three children. Blake has been in stable condition at a hospital despite being shot seven times in the back, but his family says he is now paralyzed from the waist down.
She defeated Mertens in straight sets Friday morning to advance to the Western & Southern Open final. She'll look to carry momentum from the championship match into the US Open, which begins on Monday.
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