Naomi Osaka is returning to tennis after joining the onslaught of athletes who are refusing to play in solidarity with protestors in Wisconsin over the shooting of Jacob Blake and the murder of two peaceful protestors by 17-year old domestic terrorist Kyle Rittenhouse.
According to CBS Sports, the young tennis star is returning to the court after initially pulling out in wake of the aftermath of Jacob Blake shooting and murder of two peaceful protestors. After the tweet from the world’s highest-paid female athlete, the US Open warmup announced there would be no play Thursday before resuming Friday. But later Thursday, Osaka told the Guardian newspaper in a statement she would return to the event on Friday to take on Elise Mertens in the semifinals.
“I was (and am) ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent,” said Osaka. “However, after my announcement and lengthy consultation with the WTA and USTA, I have agreed at their request to play on Friday. They offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement. I want to thank the WTA and the Tournament for their support.”
Athletes have continued to become more outspoken in their movement towards equality and racial justice with the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the police shooting of Jacob Blake sparking protests and activism around the country; more and more athletes are using their platform to raise awareness of racial injustice and police brutality in the United States.
Naomi Osaka joined the conversation taking to Instagram on Wednesday to speak out about the continued injustice that African Americans have faced at the hands of police.
“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. “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.”
All NBA and WNBA games were postponed on Wednesday, started by the Milwaukee Bucks going sitting out their Game 5 first-round matchup with the Orlando Magic. Three MLB games and five MLS games were also not played on Wednesday as the movement spread across sports.