Naomi Osaka – Profile

Naomi Osaka is a professional Japanese tennis player, currently ranked number 2 in the world. Following her victory at the Australian open, Osaka secured her fourth Grand Slam title in February, at just age 23. Her career has been full of significant milestones, ever since she claimed a victory at her Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) debut aged just 16. 

Osaka was born in Japan in 1997 to a Japanese mother and Haitain father. Her older sister Mari Osaka is also a professional tennis player. From the age of 3, Osaka has lived with her family in the United States. In interviews Osaka has reflected on her Japanese heritage, crediting it for her ‘discipline, good manners, cleanliness and sense of style’, and her mother’s strong work ethic as inspiration for her commitment to tennis. Despite his lack of experience in tennis, her father coached Osaka, and her sister Mari when they were children, inspired by Richard Williams, father and coach of sisters Venus and Serena Williams.

Naomi Osaka

A powerful serve and strong forehand make Osaka a formidable opponent. Her serves have registered up to 200 kilometres per hour, earning her a spot as one of the top ten fastest servers in WTA history. As an athlete, Osaka is one of the most marketable in the world; in 2020 she was the 29th highest-paid athlete overall, and the 9th highest-paid athlete in endorsements alone. 

Writing to her fans, Osaka discussed her excitement for the upcoming Tokyo OlympicsJapan is such an important part of my life and my makeup. I am proud of who I am and no one will be prouder than me when I complete for Japan in the Olympics later this year – hopefully with your full support”

Her winning streak ended in the quarter final of the Miami Open, where she was beaten by 23rd seed Maria Sakkari. Osaka is determined to work on her play and told WTA tennis that ‘even if you’re not playing great you should still find ways to win’. A traditionally dominant hard-court player, the tennis community are looking for adjustments to her technique that will allow Osaka to secure her first victories on clay and grass courts. Naomi Osaka is certainly the one to watch in tennis, and her career is set to reach new heights with the Tokyo Olympics later this year. 

 

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Ever since I was a little girl, my dream was to be the best tennis player in the world. Luck has nothing to do with being good at the sport. I have spent many, many hours… countless hours… on the court working for my one moment in time, not knowing when it would come but believing that it would.

Serena Williams

Tennis player

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