Naomi Osaka said on Friday that she never thought her call for racial justice would garner the attention it did and doesn’t want to be called brave for taking a stand that led to a one-day hiatus at the event. tuning of this week’s US Open in New York.
The 22-year-old Japanese initially said she would not play her semi-final on Thursday in an attempt to spark a conversation about racism following the police shooting of a black man in Wisconsin last week.
The officials then suspended their matches that day and on Friday, Osaka took to the field for their semi-final wearing a T-shirt with the image of a clenched fist and the words “Black Lives Matter” on the front.
Osaka said he thought the reaction to his stance was something more reserved for some of the game’s biggest names like Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.
“It’s definitely a little enlightening, but in a weird way, because previously I just thought the Big Three and Serena would have that kind of power,” Osaka said after booking a seat in Saturday’s Western & Southern Open final. .
“But also, at the same time, I recognize the fact that maybe WTA and ATP wanted to do something like that but they needed a push from a player to do something like that? So maybe I was some kind of them, you know, that player . “
Osaka said she promised herself during the sport’s nearly five-month COVID-19 hiatus that she wouldn’t be shy in the future when it came to having her say.
“During the quarantine, the most important thing I thought was, how, when I get out of it, I want to grow as a person and I don’t want to have so many regrets in the future,” Osaka said. “I’m not sure if it’s a light bulb or if there was a particular moment that prompted me to speak, but I feel like it’s been under construction for a while.”
After posting her ad on Wednesday, Osaka said she was a little scary and that she had to turn off her phone because she gets nervous every time people talk about her.
“I don’t feel like I’m brave. I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do,” she added.
“Honestly, when people say brave or something, they don’t resonate very well with it. I just feel like – not common sense, but that’s what I should be doing right now.”
© Thomson Reuters 2020.