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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday August 25, 2020

Milos Raonic

The Canadian speaks out in support of Naomi Osaka and racial equality.

After his hard-fought three-set win over Filip Krajinovic, Milos Raonic—unbeknownst to him—walked into the hot seat at his post-match press conference on Wednesday evening at the Western and Southern Open in New York.

True to form, the Canadian was eloquent and spoke from the heart when he was informed of Naomi Osaka’s decision not to play at the Western and Southern Open on Thursday.

He was asked if he would consider organizing a sitout with his ATP peers. Here is his answer:

“I think it's not about the three guys that are left in this tournament. I think it's about everybody being on the same page,” he said. “If three guys, four guys step up tomorrow, but everything continues as normal on Monday when the US Open starts, you know, have we taken that next small step after not playing the first day? That's the thing.

“It's not just about doing one small thing and saying, hey, I did my part. It's about continuously pursuing what you feel is just and right. And I think it has to be a conversation with our whole group and our whole representative players and, yeah, coaches. And ATP staff should be involved in this, as well. It's not just about players.”

For a player that wasn’t prepared to speak on such a heavy topic, Raonic had a lot of things to say. He expressed his desire to be a part of the solution, not the problem.

“It's a tough time for everybody,” he said. “For this to happen in a very visual and disturbing way twice within—and obviously it's happened many times over, but I think it really garnered a lot of attention, which it deserved many times earlier, as well, but due to many people being at home and not busy and about in their own days, per se, but I think, you know, having a sign somewhere of support, banners at a tournament or wearing a shirt in a warmup in a NBA game, it can only do so much.”

Raonic also opined about disruption causing real and permanent change, and what it might take, in his opinion.

“I think real disruption, I think that's what makes change,” he said. “I think a lot of real disruption is caused by affecting people in a monetary way, and that can force some kind of change. So I'm hoping with what the NBA does, and I'm hoping that we, at least on the men's tour as well as the women's, we band together and we show our support, because there is many people that are not being treated fairly are being disrespected, having to live in fear, a lot of things that I have never had to experience.”

Raonic believes that change is possible, and he hopes he can be a part of it.

“It's very unfortunate, very sad,” he said of the current situation in America. “I'm hoping that there is a change, and I'm hoping that the actions that do take course over the next days, weeks, months, years—this isn't going to change in a day, really, to create a change, a systematic change that creates an equal opportunity for everybody.”

And the Canadian says that the tours should do the right things and support America in a time of strife.

“A lot of us are from different parts of the world, but, you know, we come here to the U.S. to play every year. I think probably close to a third of our tournaments might be here? A third of the big ones are here. We should do the right thing to support this inequality and unfair, unjust behavior."


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