Young, cool and incredibly successful, that's exceptional tennis talent Naomi Osaka. For Japan, she is the face of the Olympic Games in Tokyo and the hope for a precious metal. Just in time for the start of the Olympic Games, on July 16, 2021, it became clear how important the young tennis player is: The streaming provider Netflix published a documentary series that shows two years in Naomi Osaka's life and provides insight into her family environment and her career. Only few athletes before her have received this honor, but Osaka is rightly part of the illustrious group:
At the age of 20, she was the first Japanese to win her first Grand Slam title with the US Open and is also the first Asian to be ranked number 1 in the world in tennis. Despite her youth, she was the highest-earning athlete in 2020, thanks largely to advertising and sponsorship revenue. She campaigns against racism and discrimination, and made her political activism known on social media, but also on the tennis court, especially during tournaments in the US.
Naomi Osaka is not only becoming a hero of her industry through her extraordinary sporting achievements. The tennis player also stands out for her social and political commitment. Time and again, she makes strong public statements and speaks out against racism and police violence.
Although Osaka is considered quiet and shy, it is important for her to speak out politically on the tennis court and elsewhere to publicize injustice. "I sometimes feel like I hold myself back too much by thinking about what others think of me. But when you have a platform, I think it's very important to use it." Especially since 2020, Naomi Osaka has been doing this repeatedly. She repeatedly speaks out against discrimination on social media and, for example, drew attention to racially motivated police violence in the wake of the US Open by wearing a different mask with a victim's name on it for each of her matches.
Naomi Osaka first qualified for a WTA tournament in 2014, followed by her first Grand Slam tournament in 2016 when she qualified for the Australian Open. In 2017, she knocked out defending champion Angelique Kerber in the first round at the US Open and won her first WTA tournament in Indian Wells in 2018. In September 2019, she defeated her great idol Serena Williams in two sets in the US Open final. In doing so, she became the first Japanese woman ever to win a Grand Slam title, which is one of the four most prestigious tournaments in tennis. She has now won four, adding to the young star's first title win with further victories at the US Open in 2020 and Australian Open in 2019 and 2021. She is also the first Asian woman to be ranked No. 1 in the world.
In addition to Grand Slam titles and WTA tournament victories, Naomi Osaka has won multiple awards as an athlete: in 2016 she was WTA Newcomer of the Year, in 2019 she won the Breakthrough of the Year award from the Laureus World Sports Award, and in 2020 she was honored with the Associated Press' Athlete of the Year award and was Sports Illustrated's Athlete-of-the-Year. In 2021, she won another "Sports Oscar" with the Laureus award for Best Female Athlete. She is also the face of the Tokyo Olympics.
Netflix has also noticed that there is a lot to tell about Naomi Osaka. The streaming service has dedicated a documentary to Osaka in 2021 airing prior to the Olympics. It offers sensitive insights into her background and emotional worlds in three parts and broaches issues about prejudice, depression and generally, what it's like to suddenly be in the spotlight as a young athlete. Excitingly told and highly recommended, even if you follow tennis only on the sidelines.
In terms of income, Naomi Osaka was able to overtake her role model Serena Williams for the first time in 2020. With earnings of US$37.4 million in 2020 ($3.4 million in prize money, $34 million in advertising revenue; source: Forbes), she was just ahead of great Serena Williams with US$36 million ($4 million in prize money, $32 million in advertising revenue). This makes both of them currently the only women in the top 100 highest earning athletes and Naomi Osaka the highest paid athlete of the year despite her youth.
Naomi Osaka was born in 1997 in the Japanese city of Osaka and moved to the US with her family at the age of three. Her mother is Japanese and her father is from Haiti. While she initially held US citizenship as a dual national, Naomi Osaka opted for Japanese citizenship at the age of 22 to represent Japan on the tennis court. Her older sister Mari also plays tennis professionally, although not as successfully as Naomi. Naomi is engaged to US rapper Cordae, whom she met at a basketball game in her adopted home of Los Angeles in 2019.
|Playing Hand:||Right hand, double handed backhand|
|Birthday:||October 16, 1997|
|Born in:||Osaka, Japan|
|Hometown:||Los Angeles, USA|
|Estimated net worth:||US$25 million|
|First professional season:||2013|
|Followers on Instagram:||2.2 million|