Tennis Player Naomi Osaka Pulls Out of Western & Southern Open semifinals

Thursday, August 8, 2019 - Naomi Osaka Toronto, Ontario. (Jared Wickerham/Tennis Canada)

Naomi Osaka reached the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday and withdrew a few hours later in a call for demanding change after Jacob Blake was shot by police.

Osaka had been due to play in the semi-final of the tournament – a warm-up event for the US Open, which begins on Monday – but has withdrawn, and all of Thursday’s scheduled games in the competition have also been postponed

Osaka tweeted that as a Black woman, she feels compelled to pull out of the tournament to put a focus on police shooting Black people.

Osaka beat No. 12 Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 6-2, 7-5 on Wednesday afternoon, reaching the semifinals as the only Top 10 player left in the bracket. She was scheduled to play No. 14 Elise Mertens.

NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer games were called off Wednesday as athletes demanded racial justice.

In a joint statement, the USTA, ATP Tour and WTA said: “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 recognise this moment in time by pausing tournament play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday, August 27.”