Seven masks for seven rounds. Naomi Osaka is wearing her protest against racial violence at this year's US Open.
Before and after her three-set win over Misaki Doi on Monday night, the 2018 champion wore a face mask bearing the name of Breonna Taylor.
We spoke to @drharryedwards about the #BlackLivesMatter protests, boycotts and where it fits into civil rights history:https://t.co/QD02GwERVP
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) September 1, 2020
A 26-year-old paramedic, Taylor was shot and killed by three plainclothes police officers - Myles Cosgrove, Jonathan Mattingly and Brett Hankinson - in Louisville, Kentucky on March 13th.
Her death has been among what have been the many black lives ended by police violence.
Protesters have chanted 'Say her name!' at marches across the United States and beyond, as the Black Lives Matter movement continues.
7 masks, 7 names.
If Osaka reaches the final we will see them all. #USOpenpic.twitter.com/jmARabKhae
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 1, 2020
Quietly, but all the more visibly, Osaka has said Breonna Taylor's name. And if the women's fourth seed has her way, Taylor's won't be the last.
Softly spoken she may be, but the 22-year-old has been to the fore of tennis' fight for racial equality when more of her seniors have taken a step back.
After the Milwaukee Bucks led a sit-out of the NBA Playoffs in protest at the shooting of Jacob Blake, Osaka did the same at the Western & Southern Open.
Her actions led to play being suspended for the day in New York. And she's hoping that the more people that act, the more others will talk.
"For me, I just want to spread awareness," she told a Tuesday press conference, "I'm aware that tennis is watched all over the world, and maybe there's someone that doesn't know Breonna Taylor's story.
"So maybe they'll google it after or something. I feel that maybe the more that people know the story, the more interested they'll become in it."