A report by Cindy Boren for The Washington Post.
By Cindy BorenToday at 12:24 p.m. EDT29
Saying that it “really hurts to see all the devastation,” Naomi Osaka promised to donate her earnings from the U.S. Open warm-up tournament next week to help earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, the country her father is from.
At least 700 people were killed when Haiti was struck by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake Saturday, with the death toll likely to rise and hundreds injured.
“Really hurts to see all the devastation that’s going on in Haiti, and I feel like we really can’t catch a break,” Osaka, who is preparing to play in Western & Southern Open that began Saturday, tweeted. “I’m about to play a tournament this week and I’ll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors’ blood is strong we’ll keep rising.”
The women’s singles champion will receive $255,220, according to perfect-tennis.com, with the runner-up receiving $188,945.
Osaka has been outspoken about using her platform to draw attention to causes. At the U.S. Open last year, she used masks necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic to bring attention to victims of police violence.
The world’s No. 2-ranked player, Osaka is seeded second in Cincinnati and has a bye into the second round. The Cincinnati tournament will be her first appearance since she failed to medal in the Tokyo Olympics, losing to Marketa Vondrousova. Osaka, whose mother is from Japan, competes as a Japanese citizen and was given the honor of lighting the cauldron during the Opening Ceremonies last month.
Earlier this year, the four-time Grand Slam champion used her platform to bring attention to mental health issues, announcing three days before the start of play at the French Open that she would not do mandatory interviews even if that meant being fined because of their detrimental affect on her mental health. She later withdrew from the tournament.