Tennis star Naomi Osaka has pledged to donate any prize money she earns from this week’s Western & Southern Open tennis tournament to support relief efforts in Haiti.
On Saturday (August 14), Haiti was hit by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The earthquake left more than 1000 people dead. Injured residents were rushed to hospitals as authorities sought out more doctors to assist at the locations that were impacted the most. Thousands of buildings and homes were also destroyed.
“We do have a serious issue,” Jerry Chandler, the head of Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency, explained to Reuters.
“There are very important facilities that are dysfunctional as we speak and those that are functional are receiving an overflow of patients,” he said.
Osaka stepped in to lead the charge Saturday. She is committed to aiding the recovery of the Caribbean country where her father, Leonard Francois, is from. Osaka announced her pledge and shared her thoughts on the earthquake on her Twitter page.
“Really hurts to see all the devastation that’s going on in Haiti,” she tweeted.
“And I feel like we really can’t catch a break. 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.”
Really hurts to see all the devastation that’s going on in Haiti, and I feel like we really can’t catch a break. 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 🇭🇹❤️🙏🏾
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) August 14, 2021
Osaka Plans to Use Prize Money to Support Haiti
The 2021 Western & Southern Open will take place in Cincinnati from August 14 – 22, 2021. Last year, Osaka finished second by default. She withdrew from the final championship match due to a hamstring injury.
The four-time Grand Slam champion will be playing with Haiti in mind this year. According to perfect-tennis.com, the winner of the WTA Singles tournament will receive $255,220. The runner up will walk away with $188,945. Semifinalists will receive $100,250.
Osaka played in the Tokyo Olympics this summer on behalf of Japan. She also lit the iconic cauldron during the opening ceremony, becoming the first tennis player to hold the Olympic torch towards the cauldron.