Naomi Osaka wins US Open while making social justice statement

Naomi Osaka won her second US Open title yesterday (September 12) while making a statement for Tamir Rice, a black boy shot and killed by a white police officer in 2014.

Naomi Osaka wears a mask remembering Tamir Rice at yesterday’s US Open final.

Osaka fought from a set down to defeat Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 and claimed her third Grand Slam title, following the US Open in 2018 and Australian Open last year.

She wore a different mask with the name of a black victim of violence for each of her seven matches at this year’s tournament. The final mask paid tribute to the 12-year-old who was shot and killed by police while he played with a toy gun outside a recreation center in Cleveland, Ohio.

“The point is to make people start talking”, said Osaka at the award ceremony at the near-empty Arthur Ashe stadium. Fans were not allowed at the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She also wore masks with the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijiah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile.