Naomi Osaka


Naomi Osaka has partnered with Netflix for a three-part docu-series about her rise to fame. The self-titled documentary, which is narrated by Osaka, follows her career after her 2018 U.S Open victory.

“The series is about Naomi’s journey, within a snapshot of her life,” Academy Award nominated director Garrett Bradley said in a press release. “But it’s also about life’s purpose, about personal worth, about the courage that it takes to allow one’s personal values to inform their work and vice versa. More than anything, I’d hope people can feel the power of empathy and to feel encouraged to take chances in life, perhaps especially in moments where the stakes can feel impossibly high.”

Osaka’s win against her idol, Serena Williams, catapulted her career pretty quickly, which she didn’t expect and wasn’t quite ready for.

“I think the amount of attention that I get is kind of ridiculous,” she said in the trailer. “No one prepares you for that.”

The Netflix synopsis states:

With unprecedented access, we follow Osaka during a historic two years in which she works on her game but also begins to find her voice. Whether she’s defending her grand slam titles — while wearing masks in defense of Black lives — mourning the unexpected loss of mentor Kobe Bryant, or finding her independence, the challenges Naomi faces on a personal level begin to align with those in the public sphere.

Empathetic in its approach, the series chronicles Osaka’s hectic training and travel schedule, explores the layers of pressure she is under and reveals how she spends her time off the court hanging with her closest family and friends.

Today she’s the number two tennis player in the world and is highly decorated but her success is plagued with episodes of depression.

Before withdrawing from this year’s French Open, Osaka expressed she didn’t want to participate in media interviews during the event because of how it affected her mental health.

Naomi Osaka announced this week that she wouldn’t be doing post-match interviews during the French Open in an effort to preserve her mental health.

Naomi was issued her first fine for not participating in post-match Interviews during the French Open — as well as a grave warning about more serious consequences she may face if she continues to skip out on press conferences.

On Sunday, days after the 23-year-old tennis star announced she wouldn’t be doing press during the championship in an effort to preserve her mental health, Osaka picked up her first win and a $15,000 fine.

The board of Grand Slam tennis tournaments also released a statement on Sunday, warning that she could face possible expulsion in the future.

“Naomi Osaka announced last Wednesday on social media that she would not participate in the mandatory media interviews at Roland-Garros 2021,” read the joint statement from the French Open as well as the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, and Australian Open.

“Following this announcement, the Roland-Garros teams asked her to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand the specifics of her issue, and what might be done to address it on site,” the statement continued.”She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them, and that rules should equally apply to all players.

Repeat violations could include “default from the tournament” as well as “more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions.”

In the statement, the board of Grand Slam tennis tournaments also called speaking with the media a “core element of the Grand Slam regulations.”

“We want to underline that rules are in place to ensure all players are treated exactly the same, no matter their stature, beliefs, or achievement,” they wrote. “As a sport, there is nothing more important than ensuring no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is the case in this situation if one player refuses to dedicate time to participate in media commitments while the others all honor their commitments.”

When Osaka announced her decision earlier this week, she wrote that she’s “often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health, and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.”

“We’re often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me,” she wrote, noting that the decision was “nothing personal” toward the tournament or any of the journalists.

“If the organizations think that they can just keep saying, ‘do press or you’re gonna be fined,’ and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh,” she concluded. “Anyways, I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity.”

Alongside her statement, Osaka also shared a clip from an interview with a then-14-year-old Venus Williams filmed after a reporter questioned her confidence in saying “I know I can beat” an upcoming opponent.

Before Williams could defend herself in the clip, her father Richard Williams stepped in, telling the reporter, “You’re dealing with a little Black kid. Let her be a kid! She answered that with a lot of confidence, [so] leave that alone.”

In 2016, Venus Willaims was fined $5,000 by the Australian Open for failing to show up for press conferences after she lost in the first roundShe and her sister Serena Williams  were also each fined $4,000 in 2010 after skipping press at Wimbledon after a doubles match.

If you or someone you know need mental health help, kindly reach out to mentally aware Nigeria, She Writes Woman , or any mental health organization In your country.

After putting on an amazing fightback to beat Victoria AzarenkaNaomi Osaka wins her second US Open title in three years with a 1-6 6-3 6-3 victory, inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. Also bagging her third Grand Slam title overall.

The 22-year-old superstar, already the highest-earning female athlete in the world, adds another £2.3million in prize money to her fortune while she becomes the first Asian player to win three major titles, surpassing Chinese trailblazer Li Na.

After the match, Naomi recalling the differences between Saturday’s win and her first in 2018, said:

I feel like two years ago, I maybe would have folded being down a set and a break. But I think, all the matches that I played in between that time shaped me and made me or forced me to mature more. Especially all the matches that I’ve played here were very tough.

I think definitely I’m more of a complete player now. I feel like I’m more aware of what I’m doing.

“I wasn’t thinking about winning after a certain while,” Osaka said. “I thought, ‘I came here with a goal, I’m playing in the final, a lot of people want to be in this final, so I can’t lose 6-1, 6-0.”

She wore masks with different names for each of her seven matches to honour Black victims of violence, “The point is to make people start talking,” she says. “For me, just spreading awareness,” she added.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 02: Naomi Osaka of Japan wears a mask with the name Elijah McClain on it following her Women’s Singles second-round win against Camila Giorgi of Italy on Day Three of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 2, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York City. McClain was killed by police in Aurora, Colorado. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP


Naomi Osaka, of Japan, wears a protective mask due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, featuring the name “George Floyd” while arriving on the court to face Shelby Rogers, of the United States, during the quarterfinal round of the US Open tennis championships, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


Sep 12 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan walks onto the court wearing a mask with the name of Tamir Rice prior to her match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus (not pictured) in the women’s singles final on day thirteen of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports


Naomi Osaka, of Japan, wears a Trayvon Martin mask before a fourth-round match against Anett Kontaveit, of Estonia, at the US Open tennis championships, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)


Naomi Osaka, of Japan, wears a mask in honour of Breonna Taylor as she celebrates after defeating Misaki Doi, of Japan, during the first round of the US Open tennis championships, Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

It’s definitely a final to remember!

22-year old tennis star Naomi Osaka is now the highest-paid female athlete in history, according to Forbes. She reportedly earned $37.4 million over the last 12 months from prize money and endorsements, setting a new all-time record for a female athlete that broke the previous record of $29.7 million Maria Sharapova earned in 2015.

Osaka surpassed 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, who has been the highest-paid female athlete in the last four years with earnings from $18 million to $29 million. This year, Osaka raked in $1.4 million more than Williams.

In September 2018, Osaka beat Williams in a remarkable U.S. Open women’s final. It was one of her two grand slam wins to date, the other one was at the Australian Open in 2018.

Osaka, who was born in Japan and raised in the US, initially struggled with her shyness, making it hard for her to appear in interviews and interact with other people, players, and fans. But now, she is making the most out of her platform.

In fact, she has been receiving a number of deals with several sponsors. She currently has 15 endorsement partners and a lucrative apparel deal with Nike.

More than that, Osaka ranks 29th in the top 100 highest-paid athletes, joining Williams who ranks 33rd, making them two of the only female athletes in the list.

Source: Forbes


The world in 2008 was a very different place, and methinks, much simpler. The worst kind of race argument you could get caught up in and viciously slated was debating Barack Obama’s biracial identity – and get caught up in a debate and viciously slated I did, when on a Facebook post I questioned why Barack Obama was always referred to by the mainstream media as “America’s first black president.”

Sad, how it’s been 11 years since “America’s first black president” was a reality and not a dream, and how 11 years on America seems to have regressed into Jim Crow era, but that’s for another day.

I don’t have a child yet, but one day when I am blessed with one, she will be blessed with Turkish-Nigerian roots. My argument in 2008 was that Barack Obama was no more black than he was white. As a biracial son of a Kenyan father and American mother, he was the “first biracial American president.” But alas, post after post, my Facebook friends and frenemies kept reminding me of the infamous one drop rule – a social and legal principle of racial classification, ironically, created by white Americans.

I had heard of one drop rule of course, but I refused for my then imaginary children to be defined by that one drop at the expense of half of their DNA, identity and heritage. “If someone calls my child Nigerian,” I remember arguing, “that may as well deny my whole existence in their creation, because, whatever happened to the other half of them that is undeniably Turkish?”

I even brought in my dual heritage into the mix, which has since become even more of a contentious issue in my native Turkey; for all the similarities on the surface, Turkish and Kurdish connote very different things in my ever polarised home country, where increasingly you’re having to pick a side. It may not be a case of the one drop rule just yet, but say out loud you’re Kurdish, and in the eyes of some, you might as well have admitted to having leprosy. In this melting pot of centuries old ethnic cultures, I was fortunate enough to have never had to choose, being born to a Kurdish father and a Turkish mother. To date, when talking about how dissimilar we are, my mother still reminds me I am the daughter of a Kurd after all, not in a derogatory way, but as a loving reminder of my late father’s heritage. Exactly as I would want my children to embrace both sides of their ethnic makeup, without being pigeonholed into one, or forced to pick side.

In the year 2019, while much has changed, some things remain the same as I was reminded earlier this week, when the new tennis sensation Naomi Osaka fielded a question from a Japanese reporter who wanted her to reply in Japanese and Osaka replied that she was going to say it in English before going into her answer.

Last year, upon winning the third round of the Australian Open, Osaka had to educate another Japanese reporter who wanted to know what her victory as a “very proud” Japanese means for her people.

“You moved to New York when you were two years old and lived in the United States for a long time, but you’re very proudly Japanese, obviously. What will this victory mean for the people back home, for both sets of fans who will be watching this for you?” asked the reporter, not knowing his mic would be handed back to him with the kind of sass we now know Osaka to be capable of.

“Actually, I live in FL now. But, I mean, of course I’m very honored to be playing for Japan. But my dad’s side is Haitian, so represent. But um, yeah. I forget the rest of your question. Sorry!” responded the tennis ace.

Following her latest win, USA Today called Osaka “the first Japanese player, man or woman, to win a Grand Slam trophy.” ESPN called her “the first tennis player from Japan to reach No. 1 in the rankings.” A story too similar to the French national football team made up of sons of immigrants who carried the country to the World Cup final who were relegated to the second class row behind the lily-white, pure-blooded French boys who went up to receive the cup, or the immigrant who was Malian one day but became French almost the next upon saving the life of a toddler dangling off a balcony, or men of African descent, footballers, scientists, politicians, who are defined by their country of adoption at the height of the success – how many times have you heard “American scientist of Nigerian parentage” or “British politician of Caribbean descent” – and dismissed by country of heritage at first sign of misdemeanour – “the terrorist thought to be Nigerian having gained naturalisation in 2015…”

So much may have changed in 11 years, but so little seems to have, if we are still debating the race of my still imaginary children. All I know is that I hope they will not be defined by the one drop rule, their non-black side erased, or whitewashed to make them fit into the success story that dictates all hint of colour should be removed. Above all, I hope they will have as much sass as Naomi Osaka in not letting anyone put their well-rounded selves into square boxes of racial tick boxes.



Credit: Guardian Woman, Sinem-Bilen Onabanjo

Naomi Osaka has won the Australian Open and is the new world number one, after beating Czech Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2) 5-7 6-4 in a dramatic final.

In September 2018, Osaka was reduced to tears when the crowd booed her after a controversial US Open final in which Serena Williams lost her cool. The hard-fought victory made Osaka the first Asian, male or female, to hold the world’s top ranking, taking over from Romania’s Simona Halep.

The Japanese youngster fell to one knee in celebration, head bowed, as Melbourne Park erupted in thunderous cheers. “I felt like I was in a state of shock through the entire trophy presentation,” the 21-year-old said.

She is the first woman to follow her first grand slam title by immediately winning the next one since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 and the first since Serena in 2015 to win two slams in a row.


Credit: LIB

Tennis star Naomi Osaka is on the cover of the latest issue of TIME magazine and she’s dishing on her journey so far, her match against Serena Williams, her aversion to attention and more.

On facing her idol Serena Williams, she says “Serena is Serena. I didn’t experience her life. I can’t tell her what she’s supposed to do, because there are things that she’s gone through. I have nothing against her or anything. I actually still really love her.”

Read her feature here.



Credit: BN