Naomi Osaka shrugged off Victoria Azarenka and Johanna Konta’s response to her boycott of the Western and Southern Open.
Azarenka will play Osaka in the final of tournament, but the Japan-born star rocked tennis by boycotting her semi-final appearance before agreeing to play her match against Elise Mertens on Friday.
Athletes across America have taken part in boycotts over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin and Osaka threw her weight behind the protests in the NBA and baseball with her own boycott.
Konta was quizzed about her reaction to Osaka’s decision and the delay to the tournament, but claimed she was in the dark about the issues.
‘I am not really up-to-date on current affairs,’ Konta said.
‘I am very aware of the [Black Lives Matter] movement, and very aware of what has happened while I was at home.
‘But I haven’t watched the news here. I didn’t see Naomi’s post. I really wasn’t aware of the situation in its entirety.
‘That decision was taken out of my hands. I fully understand why the tournament and why the USTA, US Open, WTA and ATP decided the way that they did.’
While Konta pleaded ignorance, Azarenka shut down repeated questions about the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘To be honest, I don’t really pay attention to that,’ she said when asked if Osaka had done well to focus on the match.
‘And that’s it. Let’s talk about tennis. I don’t want to talk about it.’
Osaka was asked for her reaction to Konta and Azarenka’s comments, but appeared unmoved by her rival’s responses.
‘Honestly, when I posted it, I thought it would just make ground in tennis circles. I wasn’t aware of the reach that it would get,’ she said.
‘As for other players, if I were in the position where I didn’t know that much information, I wouldn’t make a comment either.
‘I know both of them as people and they’re both really nice.
‘I feel like you’re trying to dig a little bit, to be honest. I would say if there was an issue, they would come to me face to face.’
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