Reigning tennis champion Naomi Osaka is using her platform to raise awareness on causes close to her heart. Her recent pledge to donate to Haiti is one of the causes that she is passionate about.
Naomi Osaka has shown a charitable nature with a pledge to donate her prize money to Haiti. The 23-year-old took to her Twitter page to announce that she will be giving away her prize money from her upcoming tournament and tweeted:
"Really hurts to see all the devastation that's going on in Haiti, and I feel like we really can't catch a break."
Tennis star Naomi Osaka poses for a photo before a match at Super Arena on October 10, 2019 in Saitama, Japan | Photo: Getty Images
Osaka continued: "I'm about to play a tournament this week, and I'll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors’ blood is strong; we'll keep rising." The Caribbean nation is where her father, Leonard Francois, is from.
Her announcement was in response to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the impoverished country on Saturday, August 14. At least 304 people were killed, according to CNN, and hundreds sustained injuries.
The four-time Grand Slam champion, whose mother Tamaki Osaka is Japanese, has not taken her platform for granted and uses it to call attention to causes that she cares about.
Last year at the US Open, she wore face masks with the names of victims’ police violence on them. In July that year, she and her sister Mari Osaka partnered with UNICEF to create a charity face mask.
The siblings used their creative talents to design a limited-edition face mask and sell it to benefit underprivileged youth in Japan. The mask's design features a pair of cartoon animal eyes inspired by the pair's love for animated cartoons, including their heritage on their mother's side.
I saw everyone in the US wearing the same medical service mask, and I remember in Japan, even before this whole situation happened, everyone was wearing masks. They were quite fashionable, Osaka told Vogue magazine.
Another cause that the highest-paid female athlete globally puts focus on is mental health awareness. In May, Osaka took to social media to announce she would be skipping all French Open news conferences to protect her mental health.
Following that statement, she avoided partaking in the mandatory news conference after her first-round win and was fined $15,000. After being warned, Osaka withdrew from the tournament entirely, a move that shocked many. She then requested that the amount be donated to a mental health charity.
When explaining her decision, she said she never wanted to be the center of attention after her withdrawal and that her situation was more than she had anticipated.
Osaka detailed her long history battle with depression and social anxiety while revealing she wanted to take time away from the "court."
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