Tennis supports NBA protest: no games in Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Masters 1,000 follows in the footsteps of the NBA and will cease its activity this Thursday. Naomi Oaska gave up playing in protest of racial inequality.


The protests that have arisen in the United States as a result of a new act of police abuse against the black population, in this case the shooting of Jacob Blake, have fully reached the sport, and tennis has not been left out. The first to stop the competition were the Milwaukee Bucks players, followed by the entire NBA. Other leagues such as MLB, MLS or WNBA also decided to suspend some of their games.

Now, the movement comes to tennis. First, Naomi Osaka announced that she would not play her semi-final match. A few hours later, the Cincinnati Masters 1,000 organization announced the cancellation of the matches that should be played throughout Thursday. The tournament will be finished, since the competition will resume on Friday.

"As a sport, tennis is collectively taking a stand against racial inequality and social injustice that has been pushed to the fore in America. The USTA, the ATP Tour, and the WTA have decided to acknowledge this moment in time by pausing the matches of the Western & Southern Open tournament this Thursday, August 27. The game will resume on Friday, August 28, "read the comment announcing the suspension of the day.

After the cancellation of the games in the NBA and several other leagues, Naomi Osaka, former world number one and winner of two Grand Slam, announced through her Twitter account that she would not play the game scheduled for this Thursday, in which the she was going to face Belgian Elise Mertens for a spot in the final of the Cincinnati Masters 1,000.

Osaka, of black race because her father is originally from Haiti, was born in Japan, although since she was three years old she has lived in the United States and shares Japanese nationality with the North American. Since the murder of George Floyd by the police, Naomi has been one of the tennis players most involved in racial claims. He participated in an ATP and WTA video condemning racism, harshly criticized Isner for a comment by the player, and in an open letter expressed his feelings about what happened in the United States.

The Japanese followed in the footsteps of other sports stars and chose to stand, and finally the entire Masters 1,000 in Cincinnati has accompanied her decision. This is the full statement in which Naomi Osaka announced that she would not play the semifinals of the tournament:

Hello. As many of you already know, I was scheduled to play my semifinal match this Thursday. But, before athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman I feel like there are much bigger issues that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis. I don't expect anything drastic to happen from the fact that I don't play, but if I can open up a dialogue in a white majority sport, I think it's a step in the right direction. Witnessing the ongoing genocide of black people at the hands of the police is honestly turning my guts. I'm exhausted from having a new hashtag every few days, and I'm extremely tired of having this conversation over and over again.

When will it be enough? #JacobBlake, #BreonnaTaylor, #ElijahMcclain, # GeorgeFloyd.

The first reactions in the circuit to these words were not long in coming. Croatian Milos Raonic, at the end of his quarter-final match in which he beat Krajinovic, learned of Osaka's decision and supported the tennis player. "A real blow, I think that's what makes the change. To really make a difference, there has to be a union of athletes. It's about taking a small step and then looking to take the next small step," Raonic commented.

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