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Naomi Osaka Wins Third Grand Slam & Shines As New Face of Activism in Tennis

Is she the new best thing in women tennis? Has the new era started? These are the questions tennis followers are asking following Naomi Osaka’s classic comeback in the final game of the U.S. Open on Saturday.

Osaka of Japan defeated Victoria Azarenka from Belarus 1/6, 6/3, 6/3 to win her second title in New York and the third Grand Slam of her career. It was a stunning performance by the fourth seeded player, who lost the first set and trailed until the middle of the second set.

It was the third time in the tournament that the 22-year old Osaka played a three-set match.

Osaka has been the armour bearer for Black Lives Matter campaigners and victims of violence and brutality. She went into every game wearing a special facemask, with her seventh and final mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy killed by a policeman while playing with a toy gun in 2014.

At the presentation ceremony, Osaka explained that she was out to make people start talking about social injustice and other ills.

“My life was always go, go tennis-wise, especially after the previous U.S. Open that I won. It definitely accelerated things, and I’ve never had a chance to slow down.

“The quarantine definitely gave me a chance to think a lot about things, what I want to accomplish, what I want people to remember me by. I came into this tournament with that mindset. I think it definitely helped me out.”

Source: The Guardian


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