The tennis player is of Japanese and Haitian descent. She took home her second US Open title last weekend.
Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka won her second US Open and third Grand Slam title on Sunday, coming in from behind to claim her victory. The player, who is of Japanese and Haitian descent, took to Twitter to thank her ancestors following her triumph. She spent every game she played highlighting the issue of racial justice. Therefore, it was only fitting that she finished strong by displaying her gratitude to those who came before her. Many appreciated her dedication, sending messages of support and solidarity, CNN reports. Osaka has been ranked number one by the Women's Tennis Association and is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles.
She tweeted, "I would like to thank my ancestors because every time I remember their blood runs through my veins I am reminded that I cannot lose." Since it was first posted, it has gained over 300,000 likes and has been retweeted over 46,300 times. In addition to this, fans have responded with congratulatory messages. Actress Yvonne Orji stated, "And then, there’s THAT! The ancestors are behind you, sis!" A fan added, "When the world tries to derail you, hope you never forget the strength that is within you. Keep this fight going as the world needs more people to stand for what is right."
They were perhaps referring to Osaka's decision to wear black masks with the names of unarmed Black victims of police brutality printed across them. The tennis player wore a new mask for every match she played. Some of the names included Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old who was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer in 2014; Breonna Taylor, the Black nurse who was murdered while she was asleep in her bed by Louisville Metro Police Department officers earlier this year; and George Floyd, whose death reinvigorated the Black Lives Matter movement in May.
We love you Naomi Osaka pic.twitter.com/kg8chLqzd7— Ezekwonna Samuel Nnamdi (@lam_nanob) September 13, 2020
Another fan, creating a collage of photos displaying the various masks Osaka wore, wrote, "They will try to divide you, my young queen! Ignore the haters and continue to embrace both of your cultures. You are to be honored for how you represented for the culture and took the championship with great grace while putting the spotlight on these martyrs." When asked about her motivation behind the masks, the 22-year-old player said, "I feel like the point is to make people start talking." Osaka, who plays for Japan but lives in the United States, is the daughter of a Japanese mother and a Haitian father. She claimed her second US Open title by beating Victoria Azarenka 1-6 6-3 6-3.