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ITF Issues Support for Pause in Play

The International Tennis Federation issued support of Naomi Osaka's social justice stand—and the ATP, WTA and USTA decision to pause play at the Western & Southern Open.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, the highest-paid female athlete in the world, announced Wednesday night she would not play the tournament semifinals in support of racial justice after Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer.

More: Western & Southern Open Will Pause Play

After Osaka opted out, the USTA, ATP and WTA have collectively decided to take a pause in play on Thursday. As of now, the tournament plans to resume with semifinal play on Friday and presumably the finals pushed to Saturday.

"The ITF supports the USTA, ATP Tour and WTA's decision to pause play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday 27 August, and the stance taken by Naomi Osaka," the ITF announced in a statement. "The ITF is against all forms of racism and injustice in our society.

"The ITF is against all forms of racism and intolerance in our sport and in society.

"Tennis is proud that players have shown themselves as leaders, today and for decades, using their platforms and voices to raise awareness and inspire change."

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve