28 August 2020

Naomi Osaka to play in re-arranged Western & Southern semi after pulling out over Jacob Blake shooting

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has confirmed she will play in the semi-final against Elise Mertens at the WTA’s Western & Southern Open later today. 

The 22 year-old pulled out of Thursday’s match in protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

The two-time grand slam champion said that ‘watching the continued genocide of Black people’ was ‘making her sick to her stomach’ and that she was a ‘black woman, before an athlete’. 

But after organisers of the event postponed all matches on Thursday, she will now take to the court today at 4pm BST against the Belgian star in the last four.

“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,” the world No 10 said in a statement to the Guardian.

“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.”

The Western & Southern Open is taking place in preparation for the US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York City. 

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