Western & Southern Open pauses Thursday to protest ‘racial inequality', ‘social injustice’

Western & Southern Open pauses Thursday to protest ‘racial inequality', ‘social injustice’
The Western & Southern Open is pausing Thursday to protest racial injustice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. The announcement came after former world No. 1 tennis player Naomi Osaka (pictured) said she would not compete in the semifinal match Thursday. (Source: Naomi Osaka Twitter account)

MASON, Ohio (FOX19) - The Western & Southern Open tennis tournament is pausing Thursday to protest “racial inequality” and “social injustice” following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

The announcement came after former world No. 1 tennis player Naomi Osaka said she would not compete in the semifinal match Thursday.

“Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach,” she said in a tweet. “I’m exhausted of having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I’m extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again. When will it ever be enough?”

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Late Wednesday, the ATP, WTA and USTA said in a joint statement the tournament would be taking the day off Thursday.

“As a sport, tennis is collectively taking a stance against racial inequality and social injustice that once again has been thrust to the forefront in the United States,” the statement reads.

“The USTA, ATP Tour, and WTA have decided to recognize this moment in time by pausing tournament play.”

Matches will resume Friday, according to the statement.

It’s not clear yet if Osaka will play the rescheduled semifinals at the tournament. It is usually held in Mason but is in New York this summer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament runs through Friday with the U.S. Open set for Aug. 31-Sept. 13.

No spectators are allowed on site.

Several other athletes are taking similar stances and and halting games.

Three Major League Baseball games and three National Basketball Association games were all postponed Wednesday after players involved refused to play in the wake of the shooting.

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