Naomi Osaka came from behind to win the US Open, and a day later, she looked back in gratitude far further into the past.
“I would like to thank my ancestors because everytime I remember their blood runs through my veins I am reminded that I cannot lose,” tweeted the tennis star Sunday. Her mother is Japanese and father is Haitian.
Osaka claimed her second US Open and third Grand Slam title.
In each match at this year’s Open, Osaka wore a mask bearing the name of a Black victim of alleged police or racist violence in the US.
Saturday she honored Tamir Rice, who was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer at age 12 in 2014.
“I feel like the point is to make people start talking,” said Osaka, 22, who plays for Japan but lives in the US.
Fans showed their respect on Twitter.
“We love you Naomi Osaka,” one wrote with a collage of her in all seven masks.
“We are proud of you. We support your action against discrimination, ‘Black lives matter’. From Japan, Small and medium sized business owners Union of Nishinomiya City,” wrote another.
Osaka claimed the title by beating Victoria Azarenka 1-6 6-3 6-3.