During the U.S. Open, tennis star Naomi Osaka has honored police brutality victims by wearing masks with their names on them.
Osaka was filled with emotions after she received video messages from the parents of Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin thanking her for paying tribute to their sons.
Naomi Osaka has become a young tennis sensation
Osaka is only 22-years-old, and she has already accomplished a lot during her tennis career. Originally from Japan, Osaka has lived in the U.S. since the age of three, and she started training for tennis at that age. At the age of 16, she started to make a name for herself when she defeated the former U.S. Open champion Samantha Stosur in her WTA Tour debut at the 2014 Stanford Classic.
At the start of 2016, she was one of the top 100 players in the world. She made her first WTA final at 18 when she competed at the Pan Pacific Open. Osaka would end up finishing as the runner-up losing to Caroline Wozniacki. The next year she got her first top 10 victory when she defeated No 6—Angelique Kerber at the U.S. Open.
Naomi Osaka winning multiple major tournaments
In 2018, Osaka won the Indian Wells Open, and that was the first professional title. She only dropped one set during the tournament. After winning at Indian Wells, she defeated her childhood idol, Serena Williams, at the Miami Open. Osaka continued her success at the U.S. Open, where she reached the finals and took on Williams for the second time in 2018. Like the first meeting, Osaka defeated Williams for the second time and won her first grand slam title.
Osaka became the first Japanese woman to contest a Grand Slam singles final and the first Japanese Grand Slam singles champion. After winning the U.S. Open, Osaka was ranked in the top 10. Osaka finished 2018 as the WTA Tour leader in prize money, earning almost $6.4 million. Going into 2019, she was No. 4 in the world.
She continued to climb the rankings in 2019. When she competed at the Australian Open, she came in as the fourth seed and was one of 11 players in contention for the world No. 1 ranking. Osaka made it to the finals, where she faced Petra Kvitova. She won the Australian Open and became the first woman to win consecutive Grand Slam titles since Serena Williams in 2015. Osaka also became the first Asian player to be ranked No. 1 in singles. She would lose her No. 1 ranking after struggling after winning the Australian Open.
Naomi Osaka showing her support for victims of police brutality in 2020
Athletes all over the world have shown their support for victims of police brutality in many ways. Whether it’s wearing shirts displaying different messages or kneeling during the national anthem, athletes are making sure the world knows that they are in full support. Osaka joined the support and wore face masks with the names of Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin, two young men who were killed by police.
She has also worn masks with the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and George Floyd. Travyon Martin’s mother and Ahmaud Arbery’s father thanked Osaka for showing the support of the victims, including their sons. When Osaka saw the video, she was emotional and said that she would continue to spread awareness. Osaka is just another athlete using her platform to let people know how they feel and want to spread awareness as much as possible.