James Blake: I’m proud of Naomi Osaka



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James Blake: I’m proud of Naomi Osaka

Former World No. 4 James Blake says he is proud of the stance taken by tennis star Naomi Osaka when she decided to withdraw from her semi-final match at the Western & Southern Open in New York last week. The decision by Osaka triggered the USTA, the ATP Tour and the WTA Tour to take a one-day pause at the Western & Southern Open and join a number of other sports which took a stand to postpone games to highlight the issue of racial injustice in the United States.

James Blake says he is proud of Naomi Osaka and her stand against racial injustice

In an interview to USA Today, Blake spoke about the decision of Osaka and the other leagues when they decided to take a stand. "I’m proud of the [Milwaukee] Bucks for starting this domino effect, getting the NBA and WNBA, MLS and MLB involved.

Awareness is good. I was screaming about this five years ago. Colin Kaepernick was screaming about this four years ago. The Black and brown communities have been screaming about this for generations, but now the majority has picked it up and validated it.

Tennis is a predominantly white sport — an international sport. I’m proud of her. She took a stand, and then the ATP, the WTA and the USTA got on board and shut down tennis for a day, and that can have ripple affects all over the world.

Now we have to figure out what action can be taken on the tennis side. And that’s up to these players now." Blake, who has himself been a victim of racial profiling in the past, says that the governing bodies of tennis and other sports need to come forward to help because this is a battle that the Black community needs support on.

"As much as we want to do as Black people, we need help. Althea Gibson may have never won Wimbledon without Alice Marble standing up for her. Jackie Robinson may not have broken into the big leagues without Branch Rickey taking a chance on him.

There’s got to be someone behind the scenes to help. When you go to a protest and you see that it’s 50 percent white, now there’s going to be some change that can really happen." James Blake has won 10 ATP singles titles in his career.

His career highlights included reaching the final of the 2006 Tennis Masters Cup, the semifinals of the Beijing Olympics, the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and the US Open. he was also part of the United States team that won the Hopman Cup in 2003 and 2004 and the United States team that won the Davis Cup in 2007.