Two-time major winner Naomi Osaka says she was grateful and humbled to see the messages of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery's families thanking the Japanese player for wearing their names on her mask during the US Open this fortnight.
Osaka has taken to the courts wearing a mask with a different name for each of her matches this fortnight and said she had seven masks with seven different names which she hoped to be able to use during the tournament. On Tuesday, during her quarter-final match against American Shelby Rogers, Osaka took to the court wearing a mask with the name of George Floyd and was asked about the legacy of his death in her press conference later.
"I hope people will research more. To be fair, I know you guys are news and media, but I feel like sometimes the news only shows one side of things. I feel like if people did their research and sort of -- I don't know.
Like, do your research first before you say anything about anything, I think.I don't know what his legacy would be. For me that's sort of what is up to his family."
Naomi Osaka hopes 'people help each other in times of great need'
The 22 year old added that seeing that she was touched by the messages of the families of Trayvon Martin and Ahmaud Arbery, who thanked her for wearing their names on her mask.
"Actually I was just trying really hard not to cry. For me it's a bit surreal. It's extremely touching that they would feel touched by what I'm doing. For me, I feel like what I've doing is nothing. It's a speck of what I could be doing.
Yeah, it was really emotional. I feel like, I don't know, after I saw it, at first I was a bit in shock. Now that I'm here and I took the time, I don't know, I'm really grateful and I'm really humbled."
The two-time major champion has said that she wanted to use her platform to raise awareness about issues that were important to her and wanted people to help each other in times of great need. "Everyone just says 'peace' all the time.
I'm not sure what the world would look like if everything was peaceful, but I would hope that people help each other in times of great need. I would also hope that, like, the older generation isn't scared to help the younger generation.
For me, the biggest thing is I don't want people younger than me to suffer through the things I have to suffer through. If any younger player reaches out to me and has questions, for sure I'll answer them. I'll try to help them out because I know how tough it is to be in that position." Naomi Osaka is through to the semi-finals of the US Open where she will meet American Jennifer Brady.