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Black Lives Matter: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic show support for #BlackoutTuesday

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HIGHLIGHTS

-Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic joined the #BlackoutTuesday movement

-Djokovic used a black photo with #BlackLivesMatter caption

-Sports stars across the world have spoken against racism in the wake of George Floyd killing

Tennis greats Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic posted messages on social media to mark ‘Blackout Tuesday’ — a day promoted to mourn and protest the killing of African American man George Floyd in police custody in the United States.

Roger Federer took to social media to post an empty black photo and captioned his post with a heart emoji. Rafael Nadal followed suit while Novak Djokovic posted the photo with hashtags #BlackLivesMater and #BlackoutTuesday.
Teenage US tennis star Coco Gauff replied to Roger Federer’s post with a card sharing information about ‘ways to help’ the cause.

The killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis has led to widespread protests across the US. The Minneapolis policeman who was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Sports stars, from across the globe, have lent their voice to the protest. The likes of West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle, Britain F1 star Lewis Hamilton, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James and Paris Saint Germain striker Kylian Mbappe are among the many who joined the #BlackoutTuesday movement.

The movement was started by music execs Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, who wrote on a site that Tuesday, June 2 would be a day to pause all business and take a stand against the “racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard.”

The movement would take the form of people posting all black pictures to Instagram and other social media platforms.

US Open champion and tennis star Naomi Osaka has been among the most vocal athletes when it comes to the protests against the killing of George Floyd. Osaka criticised people for tweeting more about lootings during the protests than his death.

“I see people been ghost on twitter for a week when the events first started unfolding, but as soon as the looting started they sure are quick to give us hourly updates on how they’re feeling once again,” Osaka wrote.

Meanwhile, cricketer Daren Sammy urged the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other cricket boards and cricketers to speak out against racism a day after Chris Gayle said racism exists in cricket as well.

In a series of social media posts, Sammy, who led the West Indies to T20 World Cup glory in 2016, said if the cricket world is not voicing against injustice to ‘people of colour’, then it is also part of the problem.

“For too long black people have suffered. I’m all the way in St Lucia and I’m frustrated If you see me as a teammate then you see #GeorgeFloyd Can you be part of the change by showing your support. #BlackLivesMatter,” Sammy wrote on Twitter.

“@ICC and all the other boards are you guys not seeing what’s happening to ppl like me? Are you not gonna speak against the social injustice against my kind. This is not only about America. This happens everyday #BlackLivesMatter now is not the time to be silent. I wanna hear u (sic).”

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Djokovic Earns Tricky Opening Win In Vienna

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In his first appearance at the Erste Bank Open since his 2007 title run, Novak Djokovic passed an early test to defeat countryman Filip Krajinovic 7-6(6), 6-3 on Tuesday.

Djokovic dropped serve twice in the first set and was forced to save set point at 5/6, before coming back to earn his place in the second round. The World No. 1, who struck 39 winners against Krajinovic, has now won 38 of his 40 matches this year.

“I was lucky in the first set… We are good friends, we train a lot [together] and it is never easy to play someone that you are very close to,” said Djokovic in an on-court interview. “He is a very nice guy and I have known him since he was very young. I followed him, I tried to be there as a friend, as a mentor. We go back a long way.

”We practised a few times [together] before coming to Vienna. The draw was tough for us to face each other, but there is always extra pressure and importance to a match when you play someone that you know very well.”

Djokovic added 45 FedEx ATP Rankings points to his tally with his second ATP Head2Head victory in three matches against Krajinovic. The Serbian is attempting to tie Pete Sampras’ record of six year-end World No. 1 finishes this year.

Djokovic was competing for the first time since his runner-up finish at Roland Garros (l. to Nadal). The 33-year-old will next face Borna Coric for a place in the quarter-finals.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion owns a 3-0 ATP Head2Head record against Coric. The pair most recently met in the 2018 Rolex Shanghai Masters final, which Djokovic won 6-3, 6-4. Coric earned his place in the second round with a 6-4, 6-4 win against Taylor Fritz on Monday.

In a first set that featured four service breaks, Djokovic and Krajinovic entertained the crowd in Vienna with their all-court skills and attacking tennis. Krajinovic took the initiative and hit his targets to earn set point at 6/5 in the tie-break, but Djokovic held firm with consistency from the baseline to extract crucial errors and earn a one-set lead.

Djokovic raised his game in the second set and earned an early break to take control of the match. The 2007 champion returned with depth and attacked with his forehand to close the match in just under two hours.

“[In the] first set, I think he was the better player. He was serving for the first set and I was lucky. He missed a smash at 6/6 in the tie-break,” said Djokovic. “A few points here and there can change the momentum of the match. In the second set, I stepped it up, I played better and I am just pleased with the way I finished the match.”

Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the second round in Vienna for the second straight year with a 7-6(6), 6-3 victory against Karen Khachanov. The Bulgarian converted three of four break points against the two-time Vienna quarter-finalist to improve to 17-10 in 2020.

“Karen is such an excellent player, such a heavy hitter,” said Dimitrov in an on-court interview. “In conditions like that, the court favours him quite a bit but I was able to just play a very solid game and take the right decisions at the right time.”

Hubert Hurkacz broke serve on four occasions to beat Attila Balazs of Hungary 6-3, 7-5. The 23-year-old will face Dusan Lajovic or Lorenzo Sonego for a place in the quarter-finals.

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