Naomi Osaka has praised friend and US Open ‘neighbour’ Stefanos Tsitsipas for showing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The two-time Grand Slam champion sparked a dialogue over racial injustice last week when she decided to forfeit the semi-final match at the Western & Southern Open in protest of police brutality against African-Americans.
Following her lead, the ATP and WTA jointly decided to cancel a day’s play and convinced her to continue in the tournament.
Osaka has continued to raise awareness at the US Open: she has seven different masks, each with the name of an African-American that fell victim to police brutality, which she is wearing through the tournament.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 1, 2020
During the US Open this week, Tsitsipas too was seen sporting a ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirt.
“He didn’t get that from me,” said Osaka about the Greek’s statement shirt.
“But I’m super proud of him. I’m very glad that his first response when everything started happening was to ask me questions. I feel like I like to get knowledge. For him to do the same thing, start branching out and asking questions on topics he’s not so sure of, is very mature and intelligent. Yeah, super glad he did that.”
The Next Gen stars are known for their banter over social media and Osaka admitted that Tsitsipas is the only player she on a regular basis in the US Open ‘bubble’ because they have been assigned neighbouring suites in the stands.
During the Western & Southern Open, the 22-year-old Tsitsipas had said that he admired her.
“Yeah, I texted and asked her what was this social injustice all about? Because I’m not really watching the news,” he said.
“I wasn’t following at the time. I did come across something when the TV was on. Yeah, and she explained to me what was going on. So I did understand.
“I guess for her it means a lot, the incident that happened. It has big importance to her than some other people, and I do understand that. It comes as a priority in your life.
“Really good for her. I’m happy for her. She’s in a good streak, a good run. She’s playing well. Honestly, I don’t really watch much woman’s tennis, but I admire her a lot.”
While Osaka made the final at the relocated Cincinnati event, Tsitsipas fell in the semi-finals. They are both through to the third round at the US Open.