US Open is a major tennis event for Women. All eyes were expected to be on World known champions, such as Serena Williams, Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Bianca Andreescu, Naomi Osaka, Victoria Azarenka, and others. In the end, Naomi Osaka won, securing her second U.S. Open title in 2 years, and her third Grand Slam win in three years. What is equally so important, in her victory speech, she consistently raised the awareness to social justice.
Facing Victoria Azarenka, who defeated the tennis icon Serena WIlliams, in the semi-finals, Naomi Osaka, 22, prevailed, with 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Naomi Osaka won with grace and showed how great she is, both as a Tennis Player and a human. Victoria Azarenka clearly dominated in the first, which lasted around27 minutes. However, with the second set, Naomi Osaka appeared to wake up and keeping an upbeat momentum.
She, though, appeared overwhelmed by the victory, when she lay down on the court, staring straight up to the sky, as the crowd applauded and cheered her on. When the trophy was handed to her, she was all smiles.
In her speech, Naomi Osaka said: "First I want congratulate Vika. Actually don’t want to play you in any more finals. I didn’t really enjoy that. It was a really tough match for me. And, yeah, it’s really inspiring for me because I used to watch you play here when I was younger. So just to have the opportunity to play you is really great and I learned a lot, so thank you.”
Taking Stand for Social Justice
Naomi Osaka had a unique way to highligh that Black Lives Matter. She has, this year, stood for racial justice, when with other athletes across other sports, including NFL, NBA, and others postponed their games at the end of August 2020, to protest the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI. Naomi Osaka decided to opt out of a semifinal match in the Western & Southern Open. She then tweeted: "Before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman. And as a Black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis...I feel like I’m a vessel at this point in order to spread awareness. It’s not going to dull the pain, but hopefully I can help with anything that they need.”" Naomi Osaka's mother is Japanese and her father is Haitian. Trayvon Martin’s mother and Ahmaud Arbery’s father have both publicly thanked her, for her stand.
From start of the US Open, she wore a face mask with the name of a different Black life lost at the hands of police brutality and other acts of racial violence. Revealing that she had seven masks that represent the seven Black lives to be honored and their stories to be told, she said, in an inteview after the first round: "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.".
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