Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka was born in Osaka, Japan on October 16, 1997, but moved to the United States with her family at the age of three. She retained dual citizenship until October, 2019 when, as required by Japanese law, she chose one – in her case, Japanese citizenship – before turning 22 years of age. That decision also made her eligible to represent Japan at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

In July, 2014, Osaka made her debut on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour in the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California. Still only 16 and ranked number 406 in the world, Osaka came through the qualifying draw, but beat former US Open Champion Samantha Stosur, ranked 19, 4-6, 7-6, 7-5 in the first round proper, having saved a match point in the second set.

It was not until the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California in March, 2018 that Osaka won her first WTA title, beating Daria Kasatkina 6-3, 6-2 in the final. However, in September, 2018, she won her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open in New York City, beating Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 in the final. Thus, she would become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Thereafter, Osaka won the Australian Open in 2019, the US Open again in 2020 and the Australian Open again in 2021, for a total of four Grand Slam singles titles. She reached the top of the WTA singles rankings on January 28, 2019, making her the first Asian player to do so and has spent a total of 25 weeks in all in the top spot. In 2021, Osaka took two self-imposed mental health breaks, one of which coincided with Wimbledon and, in 2022, announced that she would miss the event for the second year running due to an Achilles injury, which ‘still isn’t right’.

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