Naomi Osaka is a Japanese tennis player and activist who, with her victory at the 2018 U.S. Open, became the first player from Japan to win a Grand Slam singles title. In 2019, she was the first Asian player to ascend to the top of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) world rankings. Along with being the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles, Osaka is known as an advocate for social justice.
Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion. Her seven titles on the WTA Tour also include two at the Premier Mandatory level. At the 2018 U.S. 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 successive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams in 2015 and was the first to win her first two in successive majors since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.
Osaka is one of the world’s most marketable athletes, having been ranked eighth among all athletes in endorsement income in 2020. She was also the highest-earning female athlete of all time by annual income that year. Osaka has gained significant recognition as an activist, having showcased support for the Black Lives Matter movement in conjunction with her matches.
She was named one of the 2020 Sports Illustrated Sportspersons of the Year for her activism largely as part of her U.S. 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. Moreover, 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 playing style with a powerful service that can reach 201 kilometers per hour.
Further career success
The highest-earning female athlete has reported 12-month prize money and endorsement earnings of $37.4 million, catapulted to the top of the tennis stardom charts in the summer of 2018, as the soft-spoken Japanese-born, American-raised player defeated Serena Williams in a high-profile U.S. 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 heavily, and apparel makers were keen to get Osaka in their portfolio. A bidding war between Adidas, Japanese-based Uniqlo, and Nike ended officially on April 4, 2019, when Osaka signed with the Swoosh. Osaka later said she chooses “brands I feel connected to either through organic use, culture or messaging.”
Recently her Nike collection that dropped on May 16 is a reprieve from dull single-purpose activewear. Informed by Osaka’s own sense of style and design, this Nike collection features corset hoodies, cropped tees, a utility vest, and a particularly cool (yet comfy-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.