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Naomi Osaka    

Professional Tennis Player & 2021 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year

Naomi Osaka was born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father who moved to New York in the U.S. when she was three years old. In 2013, Osaka started her professional career in tennis. She is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion with victories at the Australian Open and US Open.

She qualified for the Women's Tennis Association tour championship in July of 2014 at Bank of the West Classic for the first time. In the first round match, Osaka defeated Samantha Stosur who was ranked 19th in the world and was also the 2011 US Open Champion. In 2016, at the Australian Open, Osaka qualified to enter her first Grand Slam, rolling into the third round. During the same season, she also reached the third round of the French Open and the US Open.

In September of that same year, Osaka entered the Toray Pan Pacific Open, where she was given a wildcard entry and rolled into her first WTA final. She was the first Japanese woman to reach the final since Kimiko Date won in 1995. Osaka placed second in the final and was voted the WTA "Breakthrough of the Month."

Osaka won "Newcomer of the Year" at the 2016 WTA Awards. In March 2018, Naomi became the first Japanese woman to win the Indian Wells Masters in California (USA). A Premier Mandatory, Indian Wells is widely considered the second biggest event in tennis, right behind the Grand Slam. She continued her winning streak by defeating Serena Williams in the final of the US Open, becoming the first Japanese player to win a major singles title.

She was included on TIME's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019, 2020, and 2021 and was the 2021 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she became the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony.

Aside from her tennis accolades, Osaka is recognized for her activism. She withdrew from the 2020 Cincinnati Open to raise awareness for the police shooting of Jacob Blake and wore masks bearing the names of African Americans killed in recent years during the 2020 US Open. She also spoke out against anti-Asian hate crimes in 2021. She received additional attention for announcing a hiatus from tennis in 2021, choosing to prioritize her mental health.


Naomi Osaka invests in NWSL's North Carolina Courage, becoming team owner
Three-time Grand Slam tennis champion Naomi Osaka of Japan has invested in the North Carolina Courage of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) to become a team owner. "The women who have invested in me growing up made me who I am today, I don't know where I would be without them," Osaka, the world No. 3, wrote on Twitter.
Netflix to Serve up Series on Naomi Osaka Japanese Tennis Ace ...
Garrett Bradley is directing a documentary series for Netflix on Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka's journey to the Tokyo Olympics.

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