Naomi Osaka is a professional tennis player who represents Japan. Osaka has been ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association, and is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles.
She has won five titles on the WTA Tour, including two titles at both the Grand Slam and Premier Mandatory levels.
Osaka won her first two Grand Slam singles titles in back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments at the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open, and is the first player to achieve this feat since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.
- Full name: Naomi Osaka
- Profession: Japanese tennis player
- Born: 16 October 1997 (age 22 years), Chuo Ward, Osaka, Japan
- Height: 1.8 m
- Current ranking: No. 10 (March 16, 2020)
- Country (sports): Japan
- Coach: Wim Fissette (2020–)
- Parents: Leonard Francois, Tamaki Osaka
- Siblings: Mari osaka
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About Naomi Osaka
Naomi was born on October 16, 1997, in Chūō-ku, Osaka in Japan to Tamaki Osaka and Leonard François.
Her mother is from Hokkaido, Japan, and her father is from Jacmel, Haiti. She has an older sister named Mari who is also a professional tennis player.
The two girls were given their mother’s maiden name because of the Japanese Family Registration Law (Koseki), when the family lived in Japan (the foreign husband must join the Japanese spouse’s koseki and children are registered under the Japanese spouse’s surname).
Osaka’s parents met when her father was visiting Hokkaido while he was a college student in New York.
When Osaka was three years old, her family moved from Japan to Valley Stream, New York on Long Island to live with her father’s parents.
Osaka’s father was inspired to teach his daughters how to play tennis, by watching the Williams sisters compete at the 1999 French Open.
Having little experience as a tennis player himself, he sought to emulate how Richard Williams trained his daughters to become two of the best players in the world, despite having never played the sport.
François remarked that, “The blueprint was already there. I just had to follow it”, with regard to the detailed plan Richard had developed for his daughters. He began coaching Naomi and Mari once they settled in the United States.
In 2006, Osaka’s family moved to Florida when Naomi was eight or nine years old so that they would have better opportunities to train.
Naomi practiced on the Pembroke Pines public courts. When she was 15 years old, she began working with Patrick Tauma at the ISP Academy.
In 2014, she moved to the Harold Solomon Tennis Academy. She later trained at the ProWorld Tennis Academy.
Although Osaka was raised in the United States, her parents decided that their daughters would represent Japan.
They said, “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.”
This decision may have also been motivated by a lack of interest from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) when Naomi was still a young player.
The USTA later offered Naomi the opportunity to train at their national training center in Boca Raton when she was 16 years old, but she declined.
Born in Japan to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, Osaka has lived and trained in the United States since she was three years old.
She came to prominence at the age of sixteen when she defeated former US Open champion Samantha Stosur in her WTA Tour debut at the 2014 Stanford Classic.
Two years later, she reached her first WTA final at the 2016 Pan Pacific Open in Japan to enter the top 50 of the WTA rankings.
Osaka made her breakthrough into the upper echelon of women’s tennis in 2018, when she won her first WTA title at the Indian Wells Open.
Later in the year, she defeated 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams in the final of the US Open to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Osaka is known for her multi-ethnic background and her shy, candid personality. With her diverse background and status as a Grand Slam singles champion, she is one of the most marketable women athletes in the world, ranking second in endorsement income in 2019 behind only Serena Williams.
On the court, Osaka has an aggressive playing style with a powerful serve that can reach 125 miles per hour (200 km/h).