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Naomi Osaka takes U-Turn, decides to plays with Western & Southern Open after withdrawing to protest racism

In her statement on Wednesday, former world number one Naomi Osaka had said she was not ready to play tennis following the killing of Jacob Blake.

SNS | New Delhi |

Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who had withdrawn her name from the ongoing WTA Western & Southern Open as a gesture to protest the killing of a black civilian named Jacob Blake, has reversed her decision.

On Thursday, Osaka announced that she would play her semi-final match against Belgium’s Elise Mertens just a day after she had released a statement informing about her withdrawal.

“As you know, I pulled out of the tournament yesterday in support of racial injustice and continued police violence,” Osaka said in a statement first reported by Britain’s The Guardian and The New York Times.

Osaka’s latest decision came after the WTA and ATP officials had decided to suspend all the matches of the Western & Southern Open on Thursday to express their solidarity with the black community.

“They offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement. I want to thank the WTA and the tournament for their support,” the former world number one said.

A massive anti-racism sentiment has outpoured after Blake was shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Wisconsin, USA.

The incident has happened three months after another black civilian George Floyd’s death had caused a huge uproar in all sections of the society and in several parts of the world under the banner of ‘Black Lives Matter’.

“Hello, as many of you are aware I was scheduled to play my semi-finals match tomorrow,” Osaka wrote in a statement on her social media accounts on Wednesday. “However, 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.

“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. 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?” she added.