Naomi Osaka Wears Breonna Taylor Mask

Naomi Osaka used her first-round match at the US Open to honor Breonna Taylor.

Before  her opening round faceoff against Misaki Doi, the 22-year-old entered the court wearing a black face mask with “Breonna Taylor” on it.

Afterward, Osaka told reporters why she decided to make a statement.

“I’m aware that tennis is watched all over the world, and maybe there is someone that doesn’t know Breonna Taylor’s story,” Osaka said. “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.”

Taylor died over 160 days ago after Louisville police officers executed a “no-knock” warrant and shot-and-killed Taylor.

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Osaka says she plans on wearing seven different masks with names on them at the beginning of each match and started with Taylor “because she was most important. There are still marches going on even though people don’t really talk about it.”

“I have seven,” she told ESPN. “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.” 

Osaka said on Wednesday (Aug. 26) she wouldn’t play in her semifinal at the Western & Southern Open in New York City because there are “much more important matters at hand” than watching her play tennis.

On social media, Osaka posted about the “continued genocide of Black people” in response to Jacob Blake’s shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The U.S. Open would later announce there would be no play on Thursday before returning on Friday.

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