Tennis joins other disciplines in US protests against racial inequality

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The NBA postponed Wednesday’s three play-off games after the Milwaukee Bucks called off their fixture in protest at the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Blake, a black man, was shot seven times in the back by police on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin near Milwaukee.

In baseball, three MLB games were called off after teams decided not to play, and five MLS matches have been postponed.

Tennis player Naomi Osaka pulled out of a WTA match on Thursday.

She tweeted that she would no longer play her semi-final in the Western and Southern Open in New York, saying that “as a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis”.

The US Tennis Association, ATP and WTA subsequently announced it was pausing play at the Western and Southern Open on Thursday and would resume on Friday, adding that “tennis is collectively taking a stance against racial inequality and social injustice”.

It is unclear whether the Japanese former world number one will now play her match against Belgian 14th seed Elise Mertens on Friday.

After calling off their game against the Orlando Magic, the Bucks players released a statement that said: “Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.

“When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable.

“We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.

“We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable.”

The Houston Rockets’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers’ match-up with the Portland Trail Blazers were also postponed, and will be rescheduled.

It has been reported that NBA players in the bubble will meet at 11:00h to discuss how to proceed with the play-offs. (BBC Sport)

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