The young Japanese superstar Naomi Osaka arrived on the court for her first US Open game on Monday wearing a face mask bearing the name of Breonna Taylor, the African-American nurse who was shot dead by the police when they raided her apartment in Kentucky back in March. Osaka hopes she will honor the victims of racial injustice by the time the US Open comes to an end.
After her win over Japanese compatriot Misaki Doi, Osaka said she just wants to spread awareness. She also said through tennis she wants to bring awareness on the Breonna Taylor’s story and the racial injustice that is being done. She feels the more people know the story, then the quicker justice can be brought. The Japanese superstar Osaka said she has six more masks that have the names of black people killed by police that she hopes to wear throughout the tournament. Osaka is very much hopeful of reaching the finals and wearing all of them.
The 22-year-old fourth seed has voiced repeatedly in the wake of the protests following the death of George Floyd in May. Osaka said she is more comfortable in her role as an athlete activist and has never felt stressed out speaking her mind.
Osaka threatened to withdraw from her semi-final at the Western & Southern Open last week following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Wisconsin. But she later took back that decision and played. Eventually, she was forced to withdraw from the final because of a left hamstring pull.
During the match on Monday against Doi, it was visible that the injury caused her minimal pain and that it hampered her performance to a small extent. After her win, Osaka revealed that she was not at full fitness during the game. Osaka said that physically she feels her fitness could be better. But she cannot be complaining about it since she won the match.
She said that the tournament is somewhat interesting as she feels every Grand Slam tournament has a different story and teaches a different experience. She elaborated on it by saying that it almost feels completely different at every Grand