Name: Ōsaka Naomi (大坂 なおみ) – a professional tennis player born in Japan
A 9 times female tennis player who has been ranked first by Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and is the only Asian player who appears in the top lists of singles.
Scale of notoriety:
4/5 – YouGovAmerica stated that at least 56% of Americans have heard of the name Naomi Osaka. Among which she is most well-known to the millennials. There are a few facts that make her so popular to the general public especially those who are in love with sports and tennis. Naomi is the first Japanese player who won a Grand Slam title and was given the name of “the highest-earning female athletes of all time” by Forbes two years in a row.
Scale of Influence:
3/5 - Naomi Osaka is not only widely known for impressive sport achievements and activities but also her support for the “Black Lives Matter” campaign which had received tremendous amount of public’s sympathy. In 2020, she appeared in Time’s top 100 most influential individuals and also achieved the title “Sportsperson of the year”.
Status: The Japanese star was defeated by Amanda Anisimova in Melbourne Park prior to her third straight appearance at Grand Slam since becoming the champion at Australian Open one year ago. Yet she still has a major Grand Slam challenge at French Open this coming May.
Date of birth: October 16th, 1997
Naomi Osaka’s hometown was Osaka, Japan. Her passion with sports especially tennis had started early during her childhood stage and remained unchanged when her family moved to the US.
After being taught how to play ropes by her father during junior, she became a pro herself at the age of 16. Two years prior to that, she challenged herself with her first ITF Junior Circuit match. When Naomi reached 19, she was eligible for US Open and Wimbledon qualification, which was a “steppingstone” in her career that encouraged her to step into top 100. Her initial Grand Slam appearance was at the Australian Open and by the end of 2016 the Japanese player managed to get into top 50.
The following two years were not that eventful for Naomi. However, she immediately gained public’s attention by knocking down both world’s No. 5 and No. 6 players – Venus William in Hong Kong Open and Angelique Kerber in the United State Open. The name Naomi Osaka became more common in 2018, which was also the year when her professional tennis career turned to a new page. After her first win at the Indian Open, she also made everyone amazed by beating world’s No. 1 Simona Halep and stepped into top 25.
During that time, the world finally recognized that they were witnessing a promising sport talent. Her effort to take over the Grand Slam queen Williams had made her become the first Japanese ever won grand slam singles and rapidly cracked the world’s top 5. Her second Grand Slam championship was in 2019’s Australian Open, which was followed by another two Opens’ victories including a battle against the current top 1 Ashleigh Barty in China.
Despite the spreading of Covid-19 for over two years, Osaka managed to claim her second US Open title and will be entirely concentrating on the Olympic Games.
Her parents are a couple of tennis-admiring Haitian father and a traditional Japanese mother. The father Leonard Francois had a vision to make his daughters become a world-class tennis player. It was obliviate since he allowed the Osaka sisters to join tennis classes during their toddlers. Her sister, Mari, was also a professional tennis player before losing her interest at age 24 and decided to stop her career path.
- Inspired and self-determined: she was the first person dared to stand out against a high-level industry president Yoshiro Mori regarding his racist speech. Recently, she called out for a stop on “racist, hate and blame” towards the Asian community with regards to the original outbreak of Covid 19.
- Passionate: she always keeps trying hard for her passion and love for sport and tennis. It can be seen through her career life and how she managed to climb from top 100 to top 50 and now top 2.
- Tender Heart: she shed tears after her lose in Indian Well and anti-fan’s negative words for her during the match “Naomi, you suck”.
Le Yen Nhi Huynh is an international student from Vietnam and currently in her final year at the University of Technology Sydney, majoring in Marketing. Besides from studying, she also has a passion for coffee and art, and is a part-time barista in Alexandria in Sydney. She loves communicating with people and is very dedicated to her work.