Osaka changes mind and agrees to play W & S Open semifinal

Naomi Osaka was originally scheduled to play her semifinal on Thursday but tournament organisers decided to postpone all the last-four matches to Friday.

Naomi Osaka has decided to play her Western & Southern Open semifinal after previously saying she would withdraw from the match to protest against racial injustice (File Photo).   -  AP

Naomi Osaka has decided to play her semifinal at the Western & Southern Open in New York after previously saying she would withdraw from the match to protest against racial injustice, The Guardian newspaper reported on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Japanese was originally scheduled to play her semifinal on Thursday but tournament organisers decided to postpone all the last-four matches to Friday.

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“As you know, I pulled out of the tournament yesterday in support of racial injustice and continued police violence. I was (and am) ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent,” Osaka said.

“However, after my announcement and lengthy consultation with the WTA and USTA, I have agreed at their request to play on Friday. They offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement. I want to thank the WTA and the Tournament for their support.”

Osaka joined similar protests by athletes in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB) following the police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin on Sunday.

Osaka, a two-time Grand Slam champion, will play Belgian Elise Mertens in the final tune-up event ahead of the 2020 US Open, which will run from August 31 to September 13.

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