Naomi Osaka will play the semi-finals of the WTA tournament in Cincinnati on Friday. The former number one in the world withdrew on Wednesday in protest against the shooting of the black American Jacob Blake.
Tennis federations WTA and ATP showed understanding for the boycott of Osaka, who grew up in the United States, and decided to postpone all parties in both the women’s and men’s tournaments by one day. That gave the two-time Grand Slam winner the opportunity to finish the semi-finals.
“After a consultation with the WTA and the American tennis association, I have decided at their request to play again on Friday,” the 22-year-old Japanese told the news agency. Reuters her choice. “They decided to postpone all games and that has brought a lot of attention to the action. I thank them for their support.”
“As you know, I had withdrawn from the tournament to protest racial injustice and ongoing police brutality. I was and am willing to leave the victory to my opponent.”
Due to the boycott of Osaka, Elise Mertens seemed to reach the final without playing, but the Belgian now has to leave the track at 5 p.m. on Friday. The other semi-final is between the British Johanna Konta and Victoria Azarenka from Belarus.
Osaka’s protest was in response to the violent arrest of 29-year-old Blake. Last Sunday, he was shot at close range seven times by a cop in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was seriously injured in the process.