New on Sports Illustrated: Naomi Osaka to Sit Out Western & Southern Open Semifinals in Protest

August 27, 2020 at 07:16AM

Osaka on her decision: "If I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction."

Naomi Osaka, two-time Grand Slam winner and currently ranked as the world's No. 10 women's tennis player, announced via Twitter Wednesday that she will sit out the Western & Souther Open semifinals as part of a protest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

“I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing," Osaka wrote. "But 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. 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?”

Osaka defeated Anett Kontaveit in three sets in the quarterfinal round on Wednesday. She was scheduled to face Elise Mertens in Thursday's semifinal match.

Osaka won her first Grand Slam at the 2018 U.S. Open, defeating Serena Williams in the final in straight sets, becoming the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. She won the 2019 Australian Open by knocking off Petra Kvitova in three sets.

Osaka's decision comes after players from the Milwaukee Bucks opted not to take the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. That caused the NBA to postpone the remaining two playoff games for the day. 

Three MLB games were also postponed after players decided not to play. WNBA players chose to sit out games Wednesday night, as did players from MLS.

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