Former US Open champion Naomi Osaka on Friday has reversed her decision to skip the semi-final of Western and Southern Open, which was rescheduled for Friday a day after the Japanese star announced the withdrawal in public. Osaka withdrew from the last-four round in a protest against racial injustice.
Osaka said she had a ‘lengthy discussion’ with the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and other governing bodies before taking a call to participate in the semi-final. Despite remaining more than happy not to compete, Osaka decided to return to the court, according to The Guardian.
“As you know, I pulled out of the tournament yesterday in support of racial injustice and continued police violence. I was (and am) ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent,” Osaka said, as quoted by the newspaper.
“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.”
Osaka’s decision to pull out of the semi-final of the Western and Southern Open, joining the boycott announced by major sporting leagues in the US in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black and unarmed man, in Wisconsin by police on Sunday.
“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 had written on Twitter.
Former US Open champion Boris Becker had heaped rich praise on Naomi Osaka for taking a stand against racial injustice.
“We love our sport but it puts everything into perspective,” Becker told Reuters on Thursday.
“When people get killed for the colour of their skin it’s outrageous, it’s bigger than the sport, it’s huge, bigger than whoever wins. I applaud the stance they (athletes) have taken.
“It’s good the players take their responsibilities seriously. I respect them. Police brutality against black men and women is outrageous and must stop now, period.”