Naomi Osaka entered Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York on Sunday, looking to advance in the US Open. She drew attention due to wearing a facemask with the name of Trayvon Martin, a Black teen who was fatally shot in 2012 by a neighborhood watchman. She then defeated Estonia's Anett Kontaveit and advanced to the quarterfinals.
Speaking with reporters, Osaka explained that she has a different facemask for all seven rounds of the tournament. She has worn a similar mask with other names throughout the US Open and plans to continue if she keeps winning. The first mask featured the name of Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old EMT who was killed in her home by Louisville Metro Police officers in March. Osaka then wore another mask bearing the name of Ahmaud Arbery.
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"I actually have seven [masks], and it's quite sad that seven masks isn't enough for the amount of names, so hopefully I'll get to the finals and you can see all of them," Osaka explained to reporters after her first win. She also said that "none of these deaths had to happen. I just want everyone to know the names."
Osaka further explained her reasoning behind Martin's name following Sunday's contest. She posted a photo on Instagram along with a strong message. Osaka said that the fatal shooting changed the way she dressed for years and truly opened her eyes to the world.
"Actually I have a lot to say about this. I remember Trayvon's death clearly," Osaka wrote on Instagram. "I remember being a kid and just feeling scared, irreverent info but I actually didn't wear hoodies for years cause I wanted to decrease the odds of 'looking suspicious'. I know his death wasn't the first, but for me it was the one that opened my eyes to what was going on. I remember watching the events unfold on tv and wondering what was taking so long, why was justice not being served. To see the same things happening over and over still is sad. Things have to change."
Osaka's time in the US Open continues on Tuesday with a quarterfinals match. She will face Shelby Rogers and aim to secure another win. She will also arrive wearing a facemask with a different name to bring attention to victims of fatal shootings.