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Osaka Sparks Change, Says She Will Not Compete In Western & Southern Open Semifinal • Tennis Taking A Stance Against Racial Inequality

Two-time Grand Slam champion, Naomi Osaka announced that she would not compete in Thursday’s semifinal match at the Western & Southern Open,  following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

“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,” Osaka wrote on Instagram. “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.”

Later Wednesday, in a joint statement issued by the ATP, WTA and USTA, it was announced that the tournament would be taking Thursday off entirely.

Statement on Pause in Play of the Western & Southern Open

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. 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.  Play will resume on Friday, August 28.

Coco Gauff of the US walks by Black Lives Matter signage on the court during her match against Maria Sakkari of Greece in the first round match at the Western and Southern Open at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 22 August 2020.