Ahead of Monday’s opening-round US Open match against Misaki Doi, Osaka entered the court wearing a face mask with the words “Breonna Taylor” on it.
“I’m aware that tennis is watched all over the world, and maybe there is someone that doesn’t know Breonna Taylor’s story. Maybe they’ll like Google it or something. For me, just spreading awareness. I feel like the more people know the story, then the more interesting or interested they’ll become in it.”
In her on-court interview with ESPN, Osaka said she has seven masks and she started off with Taylor’s name first “because she was most important. There are still marches going on even though people don’t really talk about it,” the 22-year-old said.
“I have seven,” she said. “It’s quite sad that seven masks isn’t enough for the amount of names, so hopefully I’ll get to the finals and you can see all of them.”
Last week, Osaka pulled out of her Western & Southern Open match in New York City because there are “much more important matters at hand” than watching her play tennis.
Tennis’ stoppage followed the halting of NBA, Major League Baseball, MLS and WNBA games in the aftermath of Blake’s shooting and subsequent protests.