KEY POINTS

  • Naomi Osaka wins her second U.S. Open title after a come from behind victory against Victoria Azarenka
  • Osaka was criticized for bringing "politics" to the tourney as she used the platform to voice out a protest on social injustice and racial inequality
  • Osaka said the criticism inspired her to win her third Grand Slam title 

In the wake of her second U.S. Open title feat, Naomi Osaka fired back at her skeptics, who poured scorn on her apparent display of activism as she was competing in the tournament.

Osaka was anything but dispirited by the string of criticisms. With an intense amount of mental pressure due to unprecedented conditions inside the tournament bubble, the young tennis superstar said that the mockery was all that she needed to ignite her inner fire en route to capturing her third major trophy.

“All the people that were telling me to 'keep politics out of sports', (which it wasn’t political at all), really inspired me to win. You better believe I’m gonna try to be on your tv for as long as possible,” Osaka wrote on her Twitter page on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old has turned heads, not just with her stellar play on the tennis court, but also with the manner of how she used the platform in conveying strong statements that oppose social injustice, police brutality, and forms of racial inequality.

Osaka, while representing Japan, also takes pride in her African roots. She has been one of the most vocal figures in sports, particularly in the advent of various movements that aim to raise awareness on issues mostly affecting the Black community.

“I wanted more people to say more names,” she said after defeating Victoria Azarenka in the final.

During the tournament, Osaka was seen wearing seven different masks, each for a distinct Black person killed by the police.

“The point is to make people start talking,” Osaka said at the awarding ceremony.

Osaka’s brave stand earned the praises of tennis legend Billie Jean King, who is also a known social justice advocate.

"She has shown more and more confidence about speaking up," said King during one of Osaka’s matches, per ESPN.

"She's very quiet and calm, but internally she's on fire and thinking about things. I really admire what she's done. Sports is a platform, and women's tennis, we are the leaders in women's sports, and Naomi has really stepped up."

Saturday’s victory was the perfect ending to a dramatic run for Osaka, who had to summon her grit to withstand a 0-1 set hole and snatch the title. The latest feat has placed her in a tie for third among active players with the most Grand Slam titles as she is expected to climb up to No. 3 in the world rankings.

Naomi Osaka won the 2020 US Open for her third Grand Slam title Naomi Osaka won the 2020 US Open for her third Grand Slam title Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AL BELLO