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US Open Tennis Ratings Down Amid Naomi Osaka Political Displays

US Open Tennis Ratings Down Amid Naomi Osaka Political Displays

US Open tennis ratings are down amid Naomi Osaka’s much-discussed political displays regarding police violence.

Over the first eight days of US Open coverage on ESPN, ratings are down 46 percent.

Some analysts are pointing to a scheduling overlap with NBA games, as well as a lack of big names in this year’s tournament, as the main culprits for the ratings decline.

Fans, meanwhile, are citing a different cause.

The ratings decline comes at an unfortunate time for Osaka, who has been attempting to use her platform to promote social awareness regarding police shooting victims.

Over the past week, Osaka has worn masks with the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin.

Sybrina Fulton, Martin’s mother, and Marcus Arbery, Ahmaud’s father, subsequently publicly thanked Osaka for her efforts.

Their acknowledgement nearly moved the 22-year-old to tears.

“I was just trying really hard not to cry,” she said during her post-match press conference this week.

“For me, it’s a bit surreal and it’s extremely touching that they would feel touched by what I’m doing. I feel like what I’m doing is nothing. It’s a speck of what I could be doing. So it was really emotional. I feel like after I saw it, at first I was a bit in shock, but now that I’m here and I took some time, I’m really grateful and really humbled.”

Predicting what name would next appear on one of Osaka’s masks became so common that one ESPN reporter actually got in trouble over it following an uncomfortable interview on Tuesday.

“I’ve been trying to guess what name is going to be on the mask every single day,” Rennae Stubbs awkwardly said.

“I was wrong about today. Are you going to give us a foretelling of who’s going to be in the next match?”

“No, honestly I surprise myself sometimes,” Osaka replied.

“I think I’m going to choose this but, no. For me, it’s just — I don’t know — it’s whatever I feel. I don’t know, it’s like a feeling I have inside.”

Clearly Osaka wants the most attention possible on her public displays of political messaging, so the US Open’s ratings decline is undoubtedly not what she was hoping for.

That said, as the tournament continues and the matches become increasingly more relevant, it will be interesting to see if the ratings tick upward.

Osaka’s next match is scheduled for Thursday, September 10 and will come against the No. 28 ranked Jennifer Brady.

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Carlos Garcia

A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.

One Comment

  1. Another self-centered person who thinks her “feelings” are so important.
    Nobody cares, dummy. Your “messages” are like seeing the same boring commercial for the 5 hundredth time. Boring.

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