Naomi Osaka is a Haitian 〜 Japanese professional tennis player who represents Japan in competitions. In 2016, she reached her best singles ranking of world no. 40. She could be the next great superstar in Japanese tennis.
She was born in Osaka, Japan, to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother. She has an older sister who is also a professional tennis player.
Born: 16 October 1997
Height: 180cm (5 ft 11 in)
Naomi was born in Japan but raised in the U.S.
When Naomi won her final qualifying match at the Australian Open in 2016, a swarm of Japanese fans followed her off the court. As they lined up for her autographs and posed for pictures, there was one thing missing:
Noise. No talking, no questions being asked, just complete silence. That’s because Naomi, who was born in Japan but raised in the United States, speaks barely any Japanese.
” When I go to Japan, people are confused. From my name, they don’t expect to see a black girl.”
Naomi is half black and half Japanese. When Naomi was three, her family moved to New York to be close to her dad’s family.
When she began to develop into a top-rate tennis player a few years ago, her father chose the Japanese Tennis Association over the United States Tennis Association because of Naomi’s dual passport. She’s played under the Japanese flag ever since.
“It’s interesting. I feel there’s not really anybody like me. It seems like more of a challenge being from Japan. I never thought about the American competition [in tennis]. I just thought about playing tennis.”
She doesn’t smile much on court, but possesses perhaps one of the biggest serves outside of Serena Williams, her idol.
Her potential to continue climbing up the rankings is plain in her sturdy game, which can feel like Serena’s at time with the serve, forehand one-two punch.
“I have seen her play,” Serena told reporters. “She’s really young and really aggressive. She’s a really good, talented player. Very dangerous.”
Naomi Osaka stole the spotlight — took down Australia’s Ashleigh Barty in the third round of the Australian Open in 2018. It was obvious to her that Barty had a home crowd pulling hard for her to win.
Afterward, Naomi gave a delightfully gracious interview on the court about her 6-4, 6-2 win, and she even admitted she felt bad for beating an Australian player. Her remarks and funny one-liners were met with laughs and applause.
” I feel really happy but also I’m kind of sorry, because I know all of you really wanted her to win!”
” So I mean, just thank you very much because I’ve never played in an atmosphere like this.”
” I’ve always wanted to play against an Australian player because on TV, it always seems really cool, so thank you.”
I ‘m taken in by athletes’ lifestyle and ways of thinking.
She is going to be a star. It just depends when. Top 20 ranking? Quarterfinal of a Grand Slam? I don’t know, but she has that potential.
She is a hit with fans – both in Japan and globally. She has any easy-going nature, however. She never seems rushed on the court and has a tendency to be stone-faced both on and off it. Her friends tell her she comes across “sort of mean,” but she says she’s just not a conversationalist.
Naomi is in a very fortunate position to have influences from diverse backgrounds.
Whose career would she like to emulate?
“Serena,” she answers.
“I was really impressed by her and wanted to play like her when I was little. Well, I hope I’m starting to play like her now.”