Naomi Osaka announced that she is boycotting her semifinals match in the Western & Souther Open.
In a note shared to social media, she said she was doing it in support of Jacob Blake and the Black Lives Matter movement.
NBA, WNBA, MLB, and MLS players are also boycotting their games this week.
Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka was scheduled to play in the Western & Southern Open semifinals on August 27, but has decided to boycott the match in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Blake, a Black man who was shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after officers responded to a domestic disturbance call, is now partially paralyzed, according to CNN.
"Hello, as many of you are aware I was scheduled to play my semifinals match tomorrow," she wrote in a statement shared on Twitter and Instagram. "However, before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman. And 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."
Naomi said she doesn’t "expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing," but says that "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," she continued. "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?" Naomi ended by hashtagging #JacobBlake, #BreonnaTaylor, #ElijahMcclain, and #GeorgeFloyd.
A post shared by 大坂なおみ 🇭🇹🇯🇵🇺🇸 (@naomiosaka) on Aug 26, 2020 at 5:54pm PDT
Naomi received public support from fellow tennis pros in the comments. "👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾," wrote Coco Gauff. "👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾," said Chris Eubanks.
Not long after Naomi's statement, officials announced that they planned to postpone the Western & Southern Open. "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 official statement says. "The USTA, ATP Tour, and WTA have decided to recognize this moment in time by pausing tournament play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday, August 27. Play will resume on Friday, August 28."
Naomi isn’t the only professional athlete to boycott an upcoming game. On Wednesday, the NBA announced on Twitter that it would postpone Game 5 of three different playoff series, after players on the Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott the game following Blake’s shooting. Soon after several WNBA, Major League Soccer, and Major League Baseball players also joined the boycott, CNN reported.
Naomi did not say whether she plans to boycott the postponed match.
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