Three-time Grand Slam winner and activist Naomi Osaka was named Female Athlete of the Year by The Associated Press on Dec. 27.
During the U.S. Open, Osaka prominently wore face masks bearing the names of Black Americans killed by members of law enforcement. The names on her masks included George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Elijah McClain, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery and Philando Castile.
She said she wore the masks to “make people start talking” about police brutality.
“…It was such a tough year for so many people,” Osaka wrote in an email interview. “And then watching the police injustices like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake [to name just a few] in the summer broke my heart. I am proud of my U.S. Open victory, but more so that I got people talking about the real issues.”
Born to a Haitian father and Japanese mother, Osaka collected 18 out of 35 first-place votes and a total of 71 points in a vote by Associated Press member sports editors and Associated Press beat writers.
Osaka won the US. Open in 2018 and 2020, and the Australian Open in 2019.
Sources: The Associated Press, WTAtennis.com