Osaka a reluctant leader reaches final after calling for racial justice

NEW YORK: Little sleep and unexpected stress couldn’t stop Naomi Osaka to rose in semi-finals.

Osaka a tennis player who is the two-time Grand Slam champion returned to the court on Friday after bringing the impulsion for racial justice to the vanguard on the tennis tour as she won the semi-final with a straight victory and reached finals of the western and southern open.

Osaka who two days ago marched against the brutality of police on Black people now reached finals with really quick. She said right after a day she would withdraw from the hard-court event to protest against the “continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police.” She pressurized the tournament to call off all the Thursday matches as she was two-time Grand Slam champion and former top-ranked player altered course.

She also tweeted about her feelings, “I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis. 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. Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.”

Now she is happy and pressurized as she stated that, “This one meant a lot.”

She also said, “Of course I feel extra pressure now that there’s more eyes watching me.”

She took a break for a day in the tournament before semi-finals for her decision of speaking for Black lives after a day break she played against Elise Mertens and reached her first Western & Southern title match a 6-2, 7-6 total of 7-5 with a victory over Elise Mertens.

The 22-year-old tennis player Osaka hoped that someone else in tennis has to take stand against racial movements for justice. Osaka considers herself as a follower but she realized to make a first step towards racial justice. She acknowledged that it was “a bit frightening” for her as she gained so much attention in last two days but still she preferred to stay in background.

Osaka said, “I feel like it’s been kind of hectic and I honestly haven’t been able to get that much sleep yesterday, so I was glad to win today.”

After her semi-final victory she tweeted that she was shattered and “sick to my stomach” over the brutality of police on Black people. She is a consistent athlete but when it comes to racial justice she decided to quit the tournament in the support of racial justice with other players in other games.  

Other tennis players expressed their gratitude and support for Osaka and tournament was stopped for a day, to encourage Osaka to stay in the draw. How would she handle all the emotions from last few days by making a comeback on court?

She answered to this question and said, “Preparing for this match was a bit stressful,” as she was going through a lot for a few days back.

Her co-player Mertens supported Osaka and said, “I totally respected her decision.” 

“I think it’s great what she does and she’s a role model for tennis. So I totally accept it,” said by Mertens.

There comes a moment when Osaka gripped her left constrain after chasing a ball during the tiebreaker, the deciding time but she completed the match without pause as a true athlete. She was a champion of 2018 US Open and will be coming off a successful week in many ways heading towards this one.

Osaka will play against Victoria Azarenka who won over British eighth seed Johanna Konta by 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 to reach the Western & Southern final for the first time since 2013, last time she beat Serena Williams.

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