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Naomi Osaka says people who told her to 'keep politics out of sports' inspired her to win US Open

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  • Naomi Osaka
    Japanese tennis player

Naomi Osaka probably didn’t need any extra motivation to win the US Open, but she got it anyway. Osaka turned things back on her critics Tuesday, saying they gave her the inspiration to dominate at the event.

Osaka, 22, specifically called out the people who said she needed to “keep politics out of sports.”

Prior to every one of her matches, Osaka wore a mask featuring the name of a victim of racial injustice and police brutality. In total, Osaka wore all seven masks she packed for the event. They featured the names Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Arbery, Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile and Tamir Rice.

Osaka promised her critics that she would “try to be on your TV for as long as possible.”

Naomi Osaka says her masks were not a political issue

Osaka also made it clear she doesn’t view wearing those masks as a political issue. That echoed a sentiment Osaka expressed in June, shortly after George Floyd’s death. While shutting down the notion that athletes should stick to sports, Osaka described her stance as a “human rights issue.”

In the past, Osaka’s been no stranger to confronting her critics online. Given how well that approach seems to be working out for her, there’s no reason for Osaka to stop calling people out now.

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