Osaka Shares SI Sportsperson Of The Year With Activists

WASHINGTON, December 8, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Last September, Naomi Osaka played and acted like a person on a mission in New York. Not only did she excel on Arthur Ashe Stadium by winning her second US Open singles title, she also was widely acknowledged for her activism. Osaka walked out on court for each of her seven US Open matches wearing a different mask, each one with the name of a Black person whose death had sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial inequality.

On Sunday, Osaka was named the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year, joining LeBron James, Breanna Stewart, Patrick Mahomes and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. In announcing the winners, Sports Illustrated said Osaka “embraced her fame and found her voice in the fight against social injustice. …

“Not known for being comfortable as a public figure off the court, Osaka, the U.S. Open champion, came to understand the power of her fame, then wielded it in eye-catching ways to confront racial injustice and police violence.”

In summary, the magazine wrote: “The issues and challenges of 2020 will no doubt still be there in 2021 and beyond. But our Sportspersons of the Year set an example of how to face and one day fix them. With principle. With passion. And with an athlete’s optimism – the belief that no matter the obstacles, better days are ahead.”

Federer looking forward to Tokyo Olympic Games

Over the weekend, Roger Federer shared a video chat with Kei Nishikori. When the Japanese star asked Federer if he had any plans to come back to Japan, Federer said:

“Yes. Obviously, the big plan is to be there for the Olympics,” Federer said. “This is for me the big one. Maybe, selfishly for me it wasn’t a bad thing that it was moved (from 2020), because of the problems I had this year. Let’s hope now for the best for the Olympic Games coming to Tokyo this next year. Clearly, this is one of my big goals; I really hope I can come back to Tokyo and Japan for that. I remember in winning in Tokyo in 2006 at Ariake Stadium and that will be the Olympic Stadium.”

Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge begins

As the Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge, a $100K ITF hard court event began in Dubai on Monday, No. 5 Katerina Sinikaova of the Czech Republic and No. 7 seed Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands advanced to the second round with victories. Siniakova, ranked 64th, defeated wild card Ankita Raina of India, ranked 180th, 1-6, 6-2, 6-2, while the No. 73 Rus beat Croatian wild card Ana Konjuh, ranked 541st, 6-1, 6-2.

It was the third time this season that Siniakova had come back to win after losing the first set. She broke her opponent six times. Meanwhile, Rus faced just one break point and was not broken during the match. She won 74 percent of her first-serve points.

On Tuesday, No. 1 seed Kristina Mladenovic of France is one of four seeds in action. The 49th-ranked Mladenovic will face No. 156 Magdalena Frech of Poland.

Happy 30th Birthday, David Goffin

Novak Djokovic’s season of giving

Coming to a UNIQLO store near you

The Way Back Machine / Australian Open 1985

On December 7, 1985, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, both Hall of Famers, met for the women’s singles title at the Australian Open. Is it possible that 35 years have passed?

Remembering Dennis Ralston

Dennis Ralston, a five-time Grand Slam doubles champion and member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, died of cancer in Austin, Texas, at age 78.

Ralston reached the 1966 Wimbledon singles final and lost to Manuel Santana.

In remembering Ralston, who once coached Chris Evert and was a college coach at Southern Methodist University, Tennis.com writer and historian Joel Drucker wrote: “You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who gave more of his heart and soul to tennis than this man.”

What they’re sharing on social media

Karolina Pliskova / Serving in Marbella

Belinda Bencic / Is it Monday already?

Tennis Canada / We’re a tennis nation regardless of season