The world says it’s about time racial discrimination stop, celebrities, athletes, teachers, everyone else is raising their fist in respect for every race, and 22-year-old world No 1 Naomi Osaka is not an exception. After pulling out of her semifinal at last week’s western and southern open, Osaka wore a face mask bearing the name of Breonna Taylor, who was shot in her home at Louisville by officers serving a drug search in March this year.
With each round Osaka remains in the tournament, she vows to wear a mask with the names of every shooting victim. She spoke after her 6-2 5-2 6-2 win that she has seven masks, which she understands is not enough for the number of names.
“I feel like we’re heading towards a great direction, and there’s a lot of players that are supporting it. I think there are a lot of voices that are contributing to a lot of things, so it’s very nice to see”- Osaka
Osaka wants to join the many to spread awareness no matter what others say; the Japanese athlete believes the fight against racism is the right course in the future. “For me, I just want to spread awareness,” she said in a press conference. “I’m aware that tennis is watched all over the world, and maybe there is someone that doesn’t know Breonna Taylor’s story. Perhaps they’ll like, google it or something.
“I feel like more people know the story, then the more exciting or interested they’ll become in it. A lot of people ask me if I feel more stressed out ever since I started speaking out more. To be honest, not really. At this point, like, if you don’t like me, it is what it is. Do you know what I mean? I’m here for pride.
I feel like we’re heading towards a great direction, and there’s a lot of players that are supporting it. I think there are a lot of voices that are contributing to a lot of things, and it’s adorable to see,” she added.
Following the murder of 46-year-old George Floyd by police officers and the death of many other victimized black people, the United States and the rest of the world have agreed that it is time to stop, it is time to speak out for the right of people of color. Among famous tennis players who have spoken against police brutality are Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and Coco Gauff, etc.
In June, when Osaka started supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, she received backlash from her indigenous people, the Japanese. But she has not let that hinder her from showing disgust against racism of any kind. Just like she said in the press conference, if people do not like her for what she does, it is what it is. It is about time a lot of people also take off their blindfolds to recognize the injustice going on everywhere against people of color.
Should Osaka remain in the tournament till the end, her fans will see her bear the names of all the victims of police brutality in solidarity of the fight against racial injustice
Osaka had initially decided not to withdraw from last week’s tournament after speaking with organizers. Still, her hamstring injury got the best of her, and she had to pull out subsequently. She was supposed to play against Victoria Azarenka.
The effect of the injury she suffered appear evident in the way she took two whole hours to secure victory over an opponent who had won only one match in seven previous appearances in the Us Open main draw.
“It was difficult, and I expected it because I know she’s a tough opponent. I knew there was a chance it would get along, and I’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow.” She said.
Out of the women’s world top 10, there are six of them absent in the tournament, which is why with a little bit of more work and perseverance, Osaka can win her second grand slam. She had defeated women world no 1, Serena Williams, in the finals of the 2018 US open and had won her first-ever grand slam title.