Professional Tennis Player
There’s one word that tennis player Naomi Osaka exudes after each match: grace. She showed it when she won against Serena Williams in the 2018 US Open, and most recently with Coco Gauff, telling the 15-year-old it was better to cry on the court than alone in the shower in the locker room.
Osaka is the reigning champion in women’s singles at the Australian Open, has earned two Grand Slam titles, and has been ranked No.1 by the Women’s Tennis Association. She can hit a tennis ball at a speed of 125 miles per hour, almost twice the maximum speed of an adult cheetah. Osaka was born in Japan to a Haitian-American father and Japanese mother. She moved to Long Island, NY when she was 3 years old and now lives in Florida with her parents, and her older sister Mari, who is also a tennis player. Their father, Leonard Francois, began training his daughters in tennis when they moved to the United States. Osaka recently gave up her U.S. citizenship in order to represent Japan in the 2020 Olympics. Her parents told the Wall Street Journal, “We made the decision that Naomi would represent Japan at an early age. She was born in Osaka and was brought up in a household of Japanese and Haitian culture. Quite simply, Naomi and her sister Mari have always felt Japanese so that was our only rationale. It was never a financially motivated decision nor were we ever swayed either way by any national federation.”
Osaka has a number of lucrative sponsorships, including a deal with Nike, Japanese racket maker Yonex, All Nippon Airways (ANA), broadcaster WOWOW, food brand Nissin, watch company Citizen and Mastercard. Once more reserved, the 22-year-old has recently become more open about her personal life and playful side on her Instagram account. She’s also not afraid to be vulnerable, as seen when she recently posted, “Honestly most of the time I don’t really know what I’m doing, but if there’s one thing I know it’s that I’m stubborn. Fall on my face 18million times and I’m gonna get up 18million times 🤷 anyways just wanted to say I’m probably gonna fall down a couple dozen times in the future but hey, the kid is resilient.”
Click below to see more Women to Know.