Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka has pulled out of a major tennis competition in the US in a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Wisconsin.
Osaka announced late on Wednesday that she will not play in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open in New York.
“As many of you are aware I was scheduled to play my semifinals match tomorrow. However, before I am an athlete, I am a black woman. 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,” she wrote on social media.
“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,” she added.
Osaka, whose mother is Japanese and father is Haitian, was born in Japan and her family moved to the US when she was three.
In a joint statement, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced there will be no tennis game on Thursday.
“As a sport, tennis is collectively taking a stance against racial inequality and social injustice that once again has been thrust to the forefront in the United States,” read the statement released late Wednesday.
“The USTA, ATP Tour, and WTA have decided to recognize this moment in time by pausing tournament play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday, August 27.”
The competition is due to restart on Friday.
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