German tennis legend Boris Becker says he respects the decision and stance taken by former World No. 1 Naomi Osaka to protest against the shooting of a black man in Wisconsin on Sunday. Osaka, who has spoken out on the Black Lives Matter protests very openly during the recent months, said she would not play her semi-final scheduled for Thursday at the Western & Southern Open as a protest against the incident, joining several athletes in other sports such as baseball and basketball.
After Osaka made her statement, the WTA Tour and ATP Tour decided to pause the tournament for one day and resume on Friday.
Boris Becker applauds the stance that Naomi Osaka and other athletes have taken
Speaking to Reuters, Becker, who has said that his children experience racism on a regular basis, says, "We love our sport but it puts everything into perspective."
“When people get killed for the colour of their skin its 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”. The Western & Southern Open will resume on Friday with the men's and women's singles semi-finals scheduled.
In a statement to The Guardian, Osaka said she will take the court for her semi-final after the WTA and USTA "offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement."
The US Open begins in New York next week and Becker will be covering the Grand Slam for Eurosport. The German says he is looking forward to having tennis back, even though it will be in very different circumstances - with no fans in the stadium and players competing after a long break.
He also applauded tennis legend Serena Williams for deciding to compete in New York as she chases a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title even while many other top players on the WTA Tour have decided to skip the tournament due to injuries or concerns about travelling during the current health crisis.
The US Open begins in New York on August 31st. The draw for the tournament was released on Thursday. Boris Becker is a former champion at the US Open - having won the tournament in 1989. Naomi Osaka is also a former winner - having won the title in 2018.