NEW YORK CITY: It is announced that tennis player Naomi Osaka will after all play in the Western & Southern Open semi-finals.
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.
Naomi Osaka who is a professional tennis player represented Japan, has been ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association, and is the “first Asian player” to hold the top ranking in singles. She has won 5 titles on the WTA Tour which includes 2 titles at both the Grand Slam and Premier Mandatory levels.
Osaka will play against Elise Mertens after matches will resume at the tournament on Friday with the semi-finals confirmed by her agent. The finals were shifted to Saturday instead of Friday due to the strike of players.
Osaka said in a statement first reported by Britain’s “The Guardian” and “The New York Times” and later confirmed by the “WTA”, “As you know, I pulled out of the tournament yesterday in support of racial injustice and continued police violence. I was [and am] ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent.”
She also added that, “However, after my announcement and lengthy consultation with the WTA and USTA, I have agreed at their request to play on Friday. They offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement. I want to thank the WTA and the Tournament for their support.”
Osaka’s father is from Haiti and her mother is from Japan she joined professional players in baseball, basketball and football in challenging change Wednesday in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake who was a Black man in Wisconsin.
On Wednesday she tweeted that, as a Black woman, “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.”
All three Major League Baseball games and five of six Major League Soccer games were called off by N.B.A. and WNBA players on Wednesday as players criticized racial injustice.
The Western & Southern opened in the New York site of the US instead of Ohio due to coronavirus pandemic this year. The US Open is planned to begin Monday.
Osaka united to defeat Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday while Belgian 14th seed Mertens removed American Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-3. The other semi-final is between two-time Australian Open winner “Victoria Azarenka of Belarus”, who beat Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur and Britain’s “Johanna Konta,” who beat Greece’s 13th-seeded Maria Sakkari.