Tennis Star Osaka to Sit Out Semifinals over Police Shooting


New York, Aug. 26 (Jiji Press)--Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka expressed on Wednesday her intention to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open semifinals in protest against a police shooting of a black man.

“Before I am a 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 wrote in a statement posted on Twitter after winning the day’s quarterfinals.

The decision by the two-time Grand Slam champion comes after Jacob Blake, an African-American man, was shot in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, triggering protests and boycotts in the sports world across the United States.

Osaka, 22, was born in the western Japan city of Osaka to a Haitian-American father and a Japanese mother.

“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,” Osaka said in the statement.

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Jiji Press