I amT six authors are face masks and since about a fortnight, Naomi Osaka, Planet Tennis’s reluctant conscience, stated this truth at the outset of the US Open: “We are all kinds in our different bubbles, our things. are doing.”
On the eve of playing Victoria Azarenka in the finals on Saturday at a stadium named after an African-American player who spent most of her life and career working against prejudice, Osaka can look back on those events , Who both confirmed and challenged him.
Perhaps a pleasant surprise for her, most (but not all) of her teammates emerge from their casual suits that surround the Arthur Ash Stadium and one before every match to honor African-American victims of racism. Appreciate his gesture of wearing a different mask. Have sent flames and ignited debates around the world to some parts of the country about Black Lives Matter.
Osaka, who was born in Japan as a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, moved to the United States at the age of three, so one can see the world through different lenses. She started her Flushing Meadows Odyssey by the name of Bryo Taylor, who was killed by police in March at her house. Osaka said of the long list of casualties: “This seven masks are very sad [are not] Sufficient for the amount of names. Hopefully, I will reach the finals and you can all watch. “
And here he is at the age of 22 – to be quite innocent, to not be smart enough – to miss the lives of Taylor, Eliza McClain, Ahmad Arbe, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd by now and his semi-finals right on young Before the victory American, Jennifer Brady, was shot and killed Thursday night by Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man after stopping for a faulty brake light in Minnesota four years ago. A jury found the police officer not guilty for murder.
These are crimes of randomly doing injustice and injustice with a long history and recurring pain. Martin’s mother, Cybrina Fulton, told Osaka during the week via video link: “We thank you from the bottom of my heart. Keep doing good even further. Continue to butt at US Open. Thank you.”
The world, of course, wanted Osaka to play the role of Serena Williams on Saturday, in her explosive 2018 finals race again, when the contenders remained calm after defeating her volatile motivation. But an American living with racism for 38 years will not be praised for kneeling for Osaka’s crusade. “It was his decision,” Williams said. “It was good for him to come to that decision. For me, you all know how I feel. I just feel that this is being very unfair. I have other beliefs, more spiritual beliefs. “
And Osaka won’t cut it either. “She’s a living icon. I wouldn’t have been here without her. Anything he’s doing I’m sure is really well thought out. She probably interacts with a lot of people. Whenever she wants to talk , She’ll talk. I’m new to the game. “
But here we are, to talk about tennis, right? Butt-kicking will not be easy. Osaka accepts that she is tired, barely asleep but hopes for her youth and confidence that the tournament brought to her after the Cincinnati Open final against Azarenka at the same venue on Saturday will be a pain. She has played with strapped for six matches, and while it has not slowed her movement, it can be difficult to read her take on such things.
After beating Brady 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-3, he said that recovering from the fortnight’s rigidity could be a problem and he could not practice beyond the warm-up. “I don’t sleep during the Grand Slam,” he said. He said, “It will probably try to see me lying on my bed with my eyes open so that I can try to sleep myself.” Then I’ll just try to be as loose as I can. “
Azarenka, aged nine, but owner of two majors, as well as a win in three against Osaka, brings his own baggage: a long custody battle with his son, Leo’s father, and a trip from Minsk at 15, Living the California dream through depression and injury, victory and despair.
Belarussian, as complex and thoughtful as Osaka, can also be outspoken and said he has long struggled with the expectations of others. It talks about backhand.
“Mentally I’m in such a different place,” he said after winning a three-set semi-final against Williams. “Seven years ago, after winning the Australian Open, I expected to reach the final, playing with consistently good results. This year it was not so. When you are doing nothing and you have become number 1 in the world, you can start thinking that you are invincible, that you are better than everyone else. And this is not true. The ego begins to grow. There is a lot of sadness when it is damaged.
“I tried … learn from my mistakes that as a tennis player you don’t become better or worse than anyone else. You’re still a human being. I started taking responsibility for everything I did. The best tool. [for that] Was I losing a lot of matches. I could stay on my high horse or I could change. I’m not talking [being] A better tennis player. I am talking [being] A better person for me, for my son. The vulnerability is good. It is good to have feelings. “
Becoming a better person has been a major theme of these competitions. Osaka has worn Hallo lightly, Azarenka raised a Catholic in Belarus, staying in confessional mode. Their finals should be as entertaining as a human theater, a tennis match.