Naomi Osaka

Former world No. 1 tennis player Naomi Osaka announced that she would not compete in Thursday’s semifinal match at the Western & Southern Open, joining the wave of athletes protesting racial injustice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

Osaka, a two-time Grand Slam champion, cited her position as one of the few Black players in a majority white sport as an opportunity to bring awareness to the movement. Osaka was active on Twitter discussing racial justice issues earlier this year following the murder of George Floyd.

Naomi Osaka

“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 wrote on Wednesday night. “I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, 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