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.
“I communicated that I wanted to skip press conferences at Roland Garros to exercise self-care and preservation of my mental health,” she wrote in an essay for TIME. “I stand by that. Athletes are humans.”
“Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that sees me at the tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety,” she said in a statement where she revealed she wasn’t going to play in the French Open. “I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.”
All three episodes of Naomi Osaka will be released on Netflix on July 16.