The night before her Western & Southern Open semifinal, Naomi Osaka announced she isn't competing in protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake. The world No. 10 joins a slew of athletes boycotting on Wednesday including players and teams from the NBA, WNBA, MLB and MLS.
The Western & Southern Open responded with a pause in play for Thursday.
Osaka received plenty of support:
A brave & impactful move by @naomiosaka, in support of the protest movement moving through the sports world.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 27, 2020
She was to play in the semis tomorrow.
Athletes using platforms for good means so much.
Don’t remain silent.#BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/Tro3SlRXT8
Am beyond proud of @naomiosaka tonight & I’m very proud of my sport ???? I’m also really tired of the racial injustice in this world. I stand with my family of black & brown sisters & brothers in this country ???????? especially the 1s in my sport. #BLM ✊????✊????✊???? #racialinjustice #Equality— Rennae Stubbs (@rennaestubbs) August 27, 2020
And players posted alongside her:
Serena lost in the round of 16 this week, while Nick Kyrgios isn't competing in the U.S. but they're still showing up online.
With Milos Raonic wrapping up his three-set win over Filip Krajinovic late on Thursday, he hadn't heard Osaka's news, but reacted to it in press.
"I think real disruption and I think that's what makes change," he said. "I think a lot of real disruption is caused by affecting people in a monetary way, and that can force some kind of change."
He's set to play Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semifinals, which has now been shifted to Friday.
"It's not just about doing one small thing and saying, hey, I did my part," Raonic said. "It's about continuously pursuing what you feel is just and right. And I think it has to be a conversation with our whole group and our whole representative players and coaches, and ATP staff should be involved in this, as well. It's not just about players."
On Thursday, Osaka announced she will compete in the semifinals on Friday against Elise Mertens.
"I was (and am) ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent," she said. "However, after my announcement and lengthy consultation with the WTA and USTA, I have agreed to play on Friday."