Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori are among a slew of tennis stars who appeared in a recent video message to speak out against the intolerance and hate being faced by Asian communities in the United States.
The #StopAsianHate campaign has gathered momentum in the United States after the unfortunate attacks in Atlanta, Georgia a couple of weeks ago.
Earlier this month a mass shooting at three spas in Atlanta left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women. And that incident came on the back of steadily increasing violence for almost a ye against Asian communities in the United States.
Many believe the unreasonable hatred towards Asians is the result of the spread of coronavirus, which reportedly originated from Wuhan in China. But the ATP and WTA tours are keen to do their bit to clear that misconception, as their heart-warming video shows.
Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori were joined by several other tennis players in the video message created jointly by the ATP and the WTA.
"I just wanted to make this brief message in support of the AAPI community. I hope that people start to respect and love Asian culture, Asian people," said Osaka, who had also taken a strong stand against racial injustice during the Black Lives Matter movement last year.
"I'm against all forms of discrimination, and please stop Asian hate," said Nishikori who, like Osaka, also hails from Japan.
Several other Asian players - including China's Zheng Saisai, Japan's Yoshihito Nishioka and South Korea's Kwon Soon-woo - are also part of the video.
The ATP and WTA teams also lined up a strong array of international players from across different regions to spread their message - Alexander Zverev, Milos Raonic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev, Gabriela Dabrowski, Ivo Karlovic, Matteo Berrettini, Madison Keys, Taylor Fritz, Chris Eubanks, Alex de Minaur, Frances Tiafoe, Maria Sakkari, Elise Mertens, Reilly Opelka, Sloane Stephens, Marcos Giron, Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Mackenzie Macdonald.
This is not the first time Naomi Osaka has spoken in support of #StopAsianHate
Naomi Osaka had also spoken out against online hate towards the Asian community during her winning run at the Australian Open in February.
"The fact that this topic is not very widely covered makes me concerned," Naomi Osaka had said in a tweet. "I only found videos and information because I was scrolling through my IG feed and by some algorithm it appeared."
"And while I'm here - saying 'Ching Chong' and 'shrimp fried rice' when talking about/to a Asian person isn't cool," she had added. "You aren't funny, it's not a joke and you're beyond pathetic."