Naomi Osaka will not play in the W&S Semi as opposed to shooting Jacob Blake; Tourney play pause

Two-time major tennis champion Naomi Osaka announced that she would not play in the Western and Southern Open semifinal matches in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Thursday. Several hours later, the tournament announced that it was halting the game for a day.

“As a sport, tennis is collectively taking a step against racial inequality and social injustice, once again at the forefront of the United States,” said a statement from the USTA, ATP and WTA. “The USTA, ATP Tour, and the WTA have decided to recognize this time by stopping the game at the Western and Southern Open on Thursday 27 August. Play will resume on Friday, 28 August.”

Osaka made his announcement on social media, saying there are more important matters that need attention.

“Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman,” she wrote in a post on Wednesday night. “And as a black woman I feel that there are far more important matters at hand, which require immediate attention rather than playing tennis. I don’t expect that nothing will happen to me, but I don’t play. The conversation started in a majority white game, which I think is a step in the right direction. “

29-year-old black man Jacob Blake was shot by police seven times in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Blake was shot as he attempted to sneak inside the driver’s door of his vehicle with his three children. The video of the shooting was distributed on social media.

“Seeing the ongoing massacre of black people on the police’s hand is honestly making my stomach sick,” she wrote in the post. “I’m tired of popping a new hashtag every few days and I’m having the same conversation over and over again, when will that ever be enough?”

Many of her peers, including Sloan Stephens and Coco Gough, responded to her post with praise.

Osaka, who represents Japan, but grew up in the United States and is based in Los Angeles, was slated to play the role of Elyse Mertens in a semifinal match after defeating Annette Contevit in the quarter-finals on Wednesday. She is scheduled to play in the next US Open, which will start on Monday.


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