Dayana Yastremska isn't backing down.
Dayana Yastremska isn't backing down.

Tone-deaf star justifies blackface

Tennis star Dayana Yastremska isn't backing down after being slammed for posting "blackface" photos of herself.

In the latest blow for the sport, the 20-year-old Ukrainian responded to fierce backlash on social media by denying what she posted counted as blackface, and blamed others for corrupting her message.

"Earlier today I posted pictures that I thought would spread a message of equality," Yastremska wrote on Instagram. "It clearly did not and has been misunderstood.

"I have been warned about the negative impact but I did not - and still don't - consider it as blackface.

"I did not intend to caricature but to share my feelings about the current situation: we should all be treated as equal.

"I am so disappointed that my message has been corrupted: these pictures divided people when they were meant to unite. That's why I deleted them.

"I sincerely apologise to all the people I have offended. I truly had only good intentions."

Yastremska scrubbed the series of pictures from her accounts, in which she is topless and half her body is black. She accompanied the posts with the caption: "Equality."

The world No. 25 was called out by US Open and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka, who commented on her Instagram post saying "Girl I know you didn't just do blackface", with a skull emoji.

Yastremska responded with a prayer emoji.

Last month world No. 73 Taylor Townsend spoke out about her experiences of racism in the sport and claimed black players are often mistaken for each other.

"Even in the tennis world it is not a united place," she told the WTA. "We lose our identity of who we are because there can only be one.

"I've had people argue with me to tell me that I'm Coco Gauff. I'm not Coco Gauff but all of us look the same, all of us are built the same, everybody sees a black person and they assume it's Venus or Serena (Williams) or Sloane (Stephens).

"Even from the aspect you walk through and nobody stops you, and I'm walking through and somebody has to check my bag, check my credential, check my coach's bag, check my coach's credential.

"It's extra security, extra precautions that need to be taken to make sure I belong."

Dayana Yastremska says she only had good intentions.
Dayana Yastremska says she only had good intentions.

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Originally published as Tone-deaf star justifies blackface

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