Naomi Osaka needs no introductions in the world of competitive sports.
Ranked no 01 in the world in tennis, she is the first Asian tennis star to hold top rankings in singles.
Born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, Naomi is set apart in a class of her own not only because of her status as the world’s highest paid athlete but also because of her activist stance.
She has supported Black Lives Matter and has been vocal about her activism.
In 2019 and 2020, she was recognised as one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
Naomi Osaka is one power packed star with potential to go further than any tennis player before her – since 2018, she has won a Grand Slam singles title for 04 consecutive years and managed to defeat tennis’s darling Serena Williams in the final of the US Open in 2018.
Naomi and her sister Mari were coached initially by her father who says he was inspired by the Williams sisters and their father’s role as their mentor.
Having achieved exceptional results at a global level, Naomi remains proud of her diverse roots as a Japanese and a Haitian at the same time.
She has chosen to represent Japan at the 2021 Olympics and has always stated her preference for being identified as a Japanese player although she did train in the US since the age of 11.
Naomi Osaka represents a generation of sports personnel who’s interests and focus are not just limited to the playing field but is extended to activism and mental health.
Osaka recently declined to attend media briefings following a win and was fined heavily for it but she has stood by her decision, citing mental health reasons.
She has also cited the tremendous pressure and stress that come with the package of being the world’s top seed – at a young age, having to grapple with issues of stardom and fame is indeed a heavy price to pay, as most celebrities find out.
Naomi Osaka is known as a player with potential for endorsements and brand affiliations.
In 2019 alone, she made US$ 16 million from endorsements alone. She is known as the 08th highest paid athlete in the world, with several endorsements and sponsorships worth millions of dollars in the works. She is seen as a marketable sports personality with star power.
She remains a favourite brand ambassador for several leading Japanese brands such as Nissan and Citizen.
Being of mixed parentage has had its ups and downs for Naomi – her Japanese grandparents weren’t too fond of her mother’s choice but have come around to accept their granddaughter as she has experienced sweet success.
Naomi has grown up in the US with her Haitian grandparents during her training – in her own words, she says that she has a unique legacy of being Haitian, Japanese and American because she lived in the US for a considerable period of time.
Naomi Osaka will be representing Japan in the Olympics and will be aiming at registering challenging wins, leveraging her star power and talent once again.