Osaka boycotting Western & Southern Open match over Blake

Naomi Osaka, like countless other teams and athletes across the country, is walking out in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting.

Osaka announced on Twitter on Wednesday night that she will not play in her semifinal match against Elise Mertens at the Western & Southern Open in Ohio on Thursday.

“Before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman,” Osaka wrote, in part. “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.”

 

Western & Southern Open suspends play

Hours after Osaka’s announcement, the Western & Southern Open opted to suspend play for the day on Thursday entirely. 

“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 sport’s governing bodies said in a statement. “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.”

It’s unclear if Osaka will decide to participate in her semifinal match on Friday.

Osaka latest to walk out

The Milwaukee Bucks did not take the court in Game 5 of their opening-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday afternoon, something that sparked a widespread walkout.

The Bucks did so after Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot multiple times in the back by police as he tried to get into his car on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin — which sits about 40 minutes south of Milwaukee. 

Video of the incident was captured and shared widely on social media, which drew widespread condemnation both from inside the sports world and out. An attorney for the Blake family said that three of his children were in the car at the time he was shot, too. 

All six NBA teams slated to play on Wednesday night opted to sit out in protest, and were joined by several MLB teams — including the Milwaukee Brewers — in solidarity. All six WNBA teams who were scheduled to play also walked out, as did every MLS team competing. 

Osaka, who is currently ranked No. 10 in the world, said the latest shooting has left her “exhausted.”

“I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sports I consider that a step in the right direction,” the 22-year-old wrote. “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 reached the semifinals after beating Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit on Wednesday 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.

Related: 30 highest-paid tennis players of all time 

30 PHOTOS30 highest-paid tennis players of all timeSee Gallery30 highest-paid tennis players of all time

30. Goran Ivanisevic — $19,878,007

Nationality: Croatian

Grand Slam titles: 1 (Wimbledon)

Overall titles: 22

(Photo by James Elsby/Getty Images)

29. Stefan Edberg — $20,630,941

Nationality: Swedish

Grand Slam titles: 6 (2 Australian, 2 Wimbledon, 2 US Open)

Overall titles: 41

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

28. Andy Roddick — $20,640,030

Nationality: American

Grand Slam titles: 1 (US Open)

Overall titles: 32

(REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

27. Lleyton Hewitt — $20,849,000

Nationality: Australian

Grand Slam titles: 2 (1 Wimbledon, 1 US Open)

Overall titles: 30

(Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

26. Justine Henin — $20,863,335

Nationality: Belgian

Grand Slam titles: 7 (1 Australian Open, 4 French Open, 2 US Open)

Overall titles: 43

(REUTERS/Toby Melville)

25. Ivan Lendl — $21,262,417

Nationality: Czech and American

Grand Slam titles: 8 (2 Australian Open, 3 French Open, 3 US Open)

Overall titles: 94

(Photo by Alberto Pezzali/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

24. Martina Navratilova — $21,626,089

Nationality: Czech and American

Grand Slam titles: 18 (9 Wimbledon, 4 US Open, 3 Australian Open, 2 French Open)

Overall titles: 167

(Action Images / Paul Childs)

23. Steffi Graf — $21,895,277

Nationality: German

Grand Slam titles: 22 (7 Wimbledon, 6 French Open, 5 US Open, 4 Australian Open)

Overall titles: 107

(Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images)

22. Lindsay Davenport — $22,166,338

Nationality: American

Grand Slam titles: 3 (1 Australian, 1 Wimbledon, 1 US Open)

Overall titles: 55

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

21. Yevgeny Kafelnikov — $23,883,797

Nationality: Russian

Grand Slam titles: 2 (1 Australian, 1 French Open)

Overall titles: 26

(Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)

20. Svetlana Kuznetsova — $24,484,712

Nationality: Russian

Grand Slam titles: 2 (1 French Open, 1 US Open)

Overall titles: 18

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

19. Kim Clijsters — $24,442,340

Nationality: Belgian

Grand Slam titles: 4 (3 US Open, 1 Australian Open)

Overall titles: 41

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

18. Martina Hingis — $24,749,074

Nationality: Swiss

Grand Slam titles: 5 (3 Australian Open, 1 Wimbledon, 1 US Open)

Overall titles: 43

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

17. Boris Becker — $25,080,956

Nationality: German

Grand Slam titles: 6 (3 Wimbledon, 2 Australian, 1 US Open)

Overall titles: 49

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

16. Petra Kvitová — $26,983,358

Nationality: Czech

Grand Slam titles: 2 (2 Wimbledon)

Overall titles: 25

(Photo by Chaz Niell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

15. Agnieszka Radwańska — $27,626,407

Nationality: Polish

Grand Slam titles: 0

Overall titles: 20

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

14. Tomas Berdych — $28,931,999

Nationality: Czech

Grand Slam titles: 0

Overall titles: 13

(Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

13. Victoria Azarenka — $29,088,041

Nationality: Belarusian

Grand Slam titles: 2 (2 Australian Open)

Overall titles: 20

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

12. Caroline Wozniacki — $30,880,173

Nationality: Danish

Grand Slam titles: 1 (Australian Open)

Overall titles: 29

(Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

11. Andre Agassi — $31,152,975

Nationality: American

Grand Slam titles: 8 (4 Australian Open, 2 US Open, 1 Wimbledon, 1 French Open)

Overall titles: 60

(Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

10. Stan Wawrinka — $31,378,297

Nationality: Swiss

Grand Slam titles: 3 (1 Australian Open, 1 French Open, 1 US Open)

Overall titles: 16

(Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

9. David Ferrer — $31,230,696

Nationality: Spanish

Grand Slam titles: 0

Overall titles: 27

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

8. Maria Sharapova — $38,076,119

Nationality: Russian

Grand Slam titles: 5 (2 French Open, 1 Wimbledon, 1 US Open, 1 Australian Open)

Overall titles: 36

(Photo by Chaz Niell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

7. Venus Williams — $40,775,048

Nationality: American

Grand Slam titles: 7 (5 Wimbledon, 2 US Open)

Overall titles: 49

(Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)

6. Pete Sampras — $43,280,489

Nationality: American

Grand Slam titles: 14 (7 Wimbledon, 5 U.S. Open, 2 Australian Open)

Overall titles: 64

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images for IPTL 2014)

5. Andy Murray — $60,931,985

Nationality: Scottish

Grand Slam titles: 3 (2 Wimbledon, 1 US Open)

Overall titles: 45

(Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

4. Serena Williams — $86,383,301

Nationality: American

Grand Slam titles: 23 (7 Wimbledon, 7 Australian, 6 US Open, 3 French Open)

Overall titles: 72

(Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

3. Rafael Nadal — $102,326,975

Nationality: Spanish

Grand Slam titles: 17 (11 French Open, 2 Wimbledon, 3 US Open, 1 Australian Open)

Overall titles: 80

(Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

2. Novak Djokovic — $115,310,890

Nationality: Serbian

Grand Slam titles: 13 (6 Australian Open, 4 Wimbledon, 2 US Open, 1 French Open)

Overall titles: 70

(Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

1. Roger Federer — $117,507,812

Nationality: Swiss

Grand Slam titles: 20 (8 Wimbledon, 5 US Open, 6 Australian Open, 1 French Open)

Overall titles: 98

(Photo by Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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