On Monday night, tennis star Naomi Osaka took to Arthur Ashe Stadium for the first round of the 2020 US Open. Before the first serve of the match, against Misaki Doi, the 2018 US Open winner sent a message with her mask: Justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old woman who was killed by Louisville police on March 13.
As Osaka revealed in an interview, this is only one of the masks that she plans on wearing to raise awareness. “I have seven,” Osaka told reporters. “It’s quite sad that seven masks isn’t enough for the amount of names [of Black people killed by members of law enforcement], so hopefully, I’ll get to the finals and you can see all of them.”
This is not the first time that Osaka has used fashion to make a statement about racial injustice — in fact, it isn’t even the first time in the last week. Last Wednesday, as several sports teams went on strike in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, Osaka announced that she would be sitting out of the Western & Southern Open’s semifinals which were set to take place a day later on Thursday. According to The New York Times, she said that there were “more important matters at hand.” When tennis officials agreed to delay matches by a day, she played. On Friday, she walked onto the court wearing a black T-shirt with “Black Lives Matter” written on it.
Osaka will take the court again on Wednesday. See her mask, below, and check back to see who else Osaka will honour at the 2020 US Open.
Round 1: Breonna Taylor
For her first match of the 2020 US Open, Naomi Osaka wore a black mask with Breonna Taylor's name written on it.