Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka walked into Arthur Ashe Stadium at the US Open wearing a black mask with Breonna Taylor’s name emblazoned on it. She beat fellow player Misaki Doi 6-2 5-7 6-2 in the first round at Flushing Meadows. Osaka has been protesting against racial injustice and the death of Breonna Taylor, an African American who was shot dead by cops in earlier this year in May, and the death of George Floyd.
Showing her support in the Black Lives Matter movement, fourth seed Osaka walked out of her semifinal clash at the Western and Southern Open last week in protest of Jacob Blake’s shooting. “Actually, so I have seven (masks),” said Osaka on Monday adding, “It’s quite sad that seven masks aren’t enough for all the names. Hopefully, I’ll get to the final so you can see all of them,” Sportstar reported.
— ESPN (@espn) September 1, 2020
What You Should Know
- Tennis pro, Naomi Osaka entered a stadium in Flushing Meadows wearing a mask bearing the name of Breonna Taylor at the US Open.
- Osaka is representing Japan in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
- Naomi became Japan’s first Grand Slam singles champion in US Open final 2018.
The 22-year-old Osaka has now advanced to the second round but it wasn’t an easy win. The former US Open champion is still recovering from a left hamstring injury.
Osaka ranks ninth in WTA
The highest-paid female athlete, Osaka has climbed one place to number nine in the latest WTA rankings. Australian Ashleigh Barty remains at the top spot in the list. Both Barty and world number two Simona Halep withdrew from the US Open amidst the ongoing pandemic.
Osaka was born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother. She moved to the United States when she was three. She holds dual citizenship and has decided to represent Japan ahead of the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. She won the US Open title in 2018 and grabbed the Australian Open trophy in 2019.
She will next face-off Camila Giorgi of Italy, who earlier beat Alison van Uytvanck 2-6 6-1 7-5.
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Feature Image Credit: ESPN