Naomi Osaka is a Japanese tennis player and activist who became the first player from Japan to win a Grand Slam singles title with her victory at the 2018 US Open. She was also the first Asian player to climb to the top of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) world rankings (2019). In addition, Osaka was known as an advocate for social justice. She is also the first Asian player to hold the top position in singles.
Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion. Her seven titles on the WTA Tour also include two at the Premier Compulsory level. At the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open, Osaka won her first two Grand Slam singles titles in back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments. She was the first woman to win consecutive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams in 2015 and was the first to win her first two in consecutive majors since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.
Osaka is one of the world’s most marketable athletes, having ranked eighth among all athletes in endorsement income in 2020. She was also the highest-paid female athlete of all time by annual earnings that year. Osaka has gained considerable recognition as an activist, having shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement in conjunction with her matches.
She was named one of the 2020 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year for her activism largely as part of her US Open Championship run and was also included on Time’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in both 2019 and 2020. she 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. On the court, Osaka has an aggressive style of play with a powerful serve that can reach 201 kilometers per hour.
Further career success
The top-earning female athlete reported 12-month prize money and endorsement earnings of $37.4 million, rising to the top of the tennis charts in the summer of 2018, when the soft-spoken Japanese-born American defeated Serena. Williams in a high-profile US Open championship match. Osaka, then an Adidas athlete, followed up her first Grand Slam tournament title by winning the next Grand Slam, the 2019 Australian Open.
Endorsement deals flowed a lot, and clothiers were eager to get Osaka into their portfolio. A bidding war between Adidas, Japan’s Uniqlo and Nike officially ended on April 4, 2019 when Osaka signed with the Swoosh. Osaka later said she chooses “brands that I feel connected to, whether through organic use, culture or messaging.”
Her Nike collection that recently dropped on May 16 is a reprieve from dull single-purpose activewear. Informed by Osaka’s own style and design, this Nike collection features corset hoodies, cropped tees, a utility jacket and a particularly cool (yet casual-looking) bodysuit. And as striking as each piece is on its own, the collection is surprisingly versatile in how you can mix and match the items depending on your plans.