Naomi Osaka masks: Who is Elijah McClain?

Naomi Osaka has seven masks she plans to unveil one by one each time she takes the court at the US Open.

And by the way she played in a 6-1 6-2 second round demolition of Italy’s Camila Giorgi she looks every chance of playing enough matches to see through her mission.

Naomi Osaka arrived on court for her opening US Open game on Tuesday wearing a face mask bearing the name of Breonna Taylor, the African-American nurse shot dead by police who raided her apartment in Kentucky in March.

On Thursday her mask bore the name of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man who died last year after police in Colorado restrained him with a chokehold that is now banned.

By the time the US Open fortnight is over, Osaka says she hopes to have honoured the memory of five other victims of racial injustice.

“For me, I just want to spread awareness,” Osaka said after her opening 6-2 5-7 6-2 win over Japanese compatriot Misaki Doi.

“I’m aware that tennis is watched all over the world, and maybe there is someone that doesn’t know Breonna Taylor’s story.

“Maybe they’ll Google it or something. For me, just spreading awareness. I feel like the more people know the story, then the more interesting or interested they’ll become in it.”

Naomi Osaka wants you to know Elijah McClain’s name. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)Source:Getty Images

Naomi Osaka wore a mask with Breonna Taylor written on it on day one.Source:Supplied

Osaka, of Haitian and Japanese heritage, said she has six other masks bearing the names of black people killed by police that she hoped to wear throughout the Grand Slam.

“I have seven and it’s quite sad that seven is not enough for the amount of names,” Osaka said.

“Hopefully I’ll get to the finals and you’ll see all of them.” The 22-year-old fourth seed has spoken out repeatedly in the wake of the protests that swept the United States following the death of George Floyd during a confrontation with police in May.

— with AFP

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