Naomi Osaka says will not play semis on Thursday; W&S Open pauses play for a day



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Naomi Osaka says will not play semis on Thursday; W&S Open pauses play for a day

After the recent Black Lives Matter protests, the issue of racial injustice and police brutality have come once again to the forefront in the sporting world and the tennis world. Former world No. 1 tennis player Naomi Osaka announced that she would not compete in her semi-final match scheduled for Thursday against Elise Martens at the Western & Southern Open to protest the issue of racial injustice and police brutality.

This comes in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, which has led to many athletes across sports to take a stand and protest against the issue.

Naomi Osaka won't play semi-final on Thursday to protest shooting of Jacob Blake

Osaka was one of many players who were very vocal during the recent Black Lives Matter protests in the United States, following the death of George Floyd.

In a statement on Twitter, Osaka says, "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. 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. I'm exhausted of having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I'm extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again.

When will it ever be enough?" Osaka's statement received a lot of support from other players, including Billie Jean King.

Later Wednesday, a joint statement was issued by the ATP, WTA and USTA that the tournament would pause play on Thursday.

"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 recognise this moment in time by pausing tournament play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday, August 27.

Play will resume on Friday, August 28." There were also postponement of games in the NBA basketball league and the MLB baseball league. It is not clear as of now if Naomi Osaka will play her semi-final match on Friday when the tournament resumes.