"There are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention"

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has left the WTA tournament in New York over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

The unarmed 29-year-old African American was shot on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin as he leaned into his car. Blake’s children witnessed the shooting from inside the car.

Blake’s lawyers have said he is recovering in hospital and is conscious but it would take a “miracle” for him to walk again.

Protests erupted around the US including Portland Oregon, where George Floyd was shot by police in May.

In support of the protests, Osaka has announced that she is pulling out of the WTA Western & Southern Open in New York.

“As a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis,” Osaka wrote on Twitter.

“I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction.”

“Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach,” Osaka tweeted.

“When will it ever be enough?”

Organisers of the tournament released a statement just hours after Osaka announced her withdrawal, stating the WTA will be suspended until Friday.

“As a sport, tennis is collectively taking a stance against racial inequality and social injustice that once again has been thrust to the forefront in the United States,” the statement said.

Last month, Osaka launched a charity face mask amid the Coronavirus pandemic.