'Collectively taking a stance': US tennis event suspends play after Osaka pulls out citing 'continued genocide of black people'
Organizers of the ongoing Western & Southern Open in the US have postponed all matches, hours after Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from the event to protest social injustice.
All matches in New York will be suspended until Friday in the wake of sporting boycotts triggered by the shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, in Wisconsin.
The US Tennis Association (USTA) released a joint statement with the ATP and WTA explaining their decision to pause the games for one day.
“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 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,” the statement said.
The fourth-seed Osaka withdrew from the competition ahead of her semi-final clash with Elise Mertens of Belgium.
The two-time Grand Slam champion said that, being a black woman, she can’t watch “the continued genocide of Black people.”
“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,” Osaka said.