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TENNIS GIRL #3 - Naomi Osaka

Making headlines with the recent Black Lives Matter events, this young tennis player is a true champion (with an hint of shyness)

By Francesca Parravicini

It is something historical in the world of American sport: following the (unfortunately) umpteenth police violence against African-American citizens, with the shooting of Jacob Blake which took place on August 23, many, many athletes reacted by deserting the matches of these days, with NBA players at the forefront.

In the tennis world, the actions of Naomi Osaka, an athlete of Japanese and Haitian origins, caused great sensation: following her admission to the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open, on Wednesday 19 August she refused to play the matches of the following day, pushing the ATP and WTA federations to postpone the semifinals and finals by one day.

The following Friday she showed up on the field wearing a T-shirt with the motto “Black Lives Matter”, making her position even clearer.

Afterwards, in an interview with ESPN she stated: "During quarantine, I saw a lot of things happening. I thought it would be nice if someone started something. Honestly, I’m more of a follower than a leader, I like to follow things. I was just waiting and waiting, and then I realized I would have to be the one to take the step".

In short, she's very young, but with strong ideas. Let's get to know her better!

 
 
 
 
 
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anddddddd we’re back.

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THE TENNIST

Naomi was born on October 16, 1997 in Chūō-ku (Osaka). She comes from a multi-cultural background, her mother, Tamaki Osaka, is from Hokkaido, her fathe,r Leonard François, is from Jacmel, a municipality in Haiti. The couple was opposed by Tamaki's family, due to her husband's nationality, but decided to continue on their own path anyway: Tamaki and Leonard moved to Osaka, where Naomi and her sister Mari were born, both received their mother's surname, in the hope to have an easier life in Japan.

When Naomi was three, the family moved to Long Island, in the United States, where Francois taught her daughters to play tennis, inspired by Venus and Serena Williams at the 1999 French Open: the two girls strarted to train so intensely that since 2006, the year in which they moved to Florida, they started studying at home in the evening, while during the day they competed on the court. The rivalry between the two sisters was present, but served as a catalyst to improve each other: "It took 12 years to beat her – Naomi said - It was probably one of the biggest moments of my career. She beat me probably more than 1,000 times over my childhood".

Although she grew up in the United States, Naomi competes for Japan, but feels a strong connection with her Haitian origins and with the black athletes who made history, in particular Serena Williams, considered a personal idol and with whom she has already shared the court.

Despite her boldness in sports, Naomi is known for her shy nature, a trait she has often talked about: in the past she often felt blocked by the fear of saying what she thinks, now she is learning to be more confident.

 
 
 
 
 
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ようこそ to my face.

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HER VICTORIES

Despite her young age, Naomi Osaka is one of the most promising tennis players in the world. She started playing professionally at the age of 15 in 2014 and slowly climbed to the top of the tennis olympus, which led her to major successes in the 2018-2019 season, when she won at the WTA tournament in Indian Wells: she triumphed at the US Open, beating Serena Williams and at the Australian Open against Petra Kvitová, she was the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam and the first Asian to reach the top of the singles charts.

Her style is characterized by an aggressive game, with a very powerful serve, exceeding 200 km/h, strong in the forehand and in the backhand.

Her victories and her story will be the subject of a future Netflix documentary. Not bad!

HER STYLE ON THE COURT

Just by taking a brief look at her Instagram profile (with 1.2 million followers) we know that Naomi is a true fashionista. With a taste that oscillates between a neutral-minimalist aesthetic (Kardashian sisters style) and whimsical garments, with absolutely bold prints, feminine and romantic silhouettes mixed with sportswear details.

It is therefore not strange that brands want her: first Adidas, then Nike, Naomi is the perfect expression of a sporty style, full of personality. On the court we see her showing off outfits with an almost vintage flavor, in neutral tones alternating with others in colorful tones, with unusual animalier prints and technical materials. The finishing touch, a pair of shoes in fluorescent tones.

Fashion is a passion that she has cultivated since she was a child together with her sister Mari, with whom she enjoyed creating sketches of clothes on their way to tennis matches and which led her to collaborate with the brand ADEAM, creating a capsule collection, presented at the New York Fashion Week last February: 5 looks that draw on Naomi's Japanese-American roots, with a romantic but also sporty and rigorous mood. Sitting in the front row, Naomi conquered everyone with her talent (and a pinch of shyness).

 
 
 
 
 
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✊🏾.

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