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Activism from the Court: Naomi Osaka Wins US Open for the Culture

By Alex D. Williams, Staff Reporter

Naomi Osaka holds her trophy after winning the 2020 Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open.
Photo Courtesy of Getty

Young tennis phenomenon Naomi Osaka, claimed her third Grand Slam title after winning the 2020 U.S. Open tournament on Sept.12. 

Despite losing the first set 1-6, she roared back winning 6-3, in each of the following sets to win the championship title. Her opponent, former World No.1 player Victoria Azarenka, started off strong, but could not keep up with the powerful serve and intensity from this ambitious 22-year-old. 

Osaka finished with six aces and only two double faults in her conquest for another major title. She is the previous U.S. Open champion from 2018 and proved that this year, she was determined to once again come out on top.

To add to her heroism on the court, Osaka took the opportunity to shed light on police brutality and the social injustice occurring in the Black community. Before each match, Osaka appeared on the court wearing a mask that featured the name of an individual that was killed by police brutality. 

Naomi Osaka brought seven face masks to the US Open.

Each mask highlighted a different Black victim of racial injustice and police brutality. 

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-Breonna Taylor 

-Elijah McClain 

-Ahmaud Arbery 

-Trayvon Martin 

-George Floyd 

-Philando Castile 

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Osaka attributes her win to her ancestors and those that specifically told her to keep politics out of sports.

“All the people that were telling me to “keep politics out of sports”, (which it wasn’t political at all), really inspired me to win. You better believe I’m gonna be on your tv for as long as possible,” she said.

“I would like to thank my ancestors because everytime I remember their blood runs through my veins I am reminded that I cannot lose.” 

As a Black woman playing in a predominantly white sport, Osaka knew the importance of her actions and how much attention this would bring. In her previous tournament two weeks ago, Osaka forfeited her match to stand in solidarity with athletes in other leagues, protesting the killing of George Floyd.

Her activism on the court and demand for justice has sparked a conversation that goes beyond sports. Her journey in the 2020 French Open is up next!

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