Naomi Osaka, one of the best tennis players in the world, recently lost to American Amanda Anismanova in the first round of the 2022 Roland Garros in Paris, France.
Naomi later hinted that she would skip Wimbledon after the WTA and ATP tours announced that no ranking points would be awarded. They made the decision in response to Wimbledon's ban on players from Russia and Belarus.
Last year, the former number one tennis player surprised tennis fans after dropping out of major tournaments for mental health reasons, a topic rarely discussed in sports.
Naomi Osaka celebrates winning a point in a tennis match against U.S. player Jennifer Brady in 2021 Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia on February 20, 2021. | Source: Getty Images
WHO IS NAOMI OSAKA, AND HOW OLD IS SHE?
Although she lost the game, she has a loving family who supports her decision. Born on October 16, 1997, in Osaka, Japan, Naomi was raised by her Japanese mother, Tamaki, and Haitian father, Leonard Francois. The 24-year-old tennis star has an older sister named Mari.
At three, Naomi's family moved to the United States, settled in New York, and later in Florida, wherein she and her sister grew up in a household embracing the Japanese and Haitian cultures.
Besides embracing two different cultures, Naomi has developed an interest in tennis. While being homeschooled, she and Mari started playing tennis with their father.
Naomi, who held American and Japanese citizenships, began competing at 14 and would only represent Japan in international tennis events. Mari competed professionally, but she retired from the sport in 2021.
In 2019, Naomi announced the relinquishment of her U.S. citizenship. According to Japan's Nationality Act, dual citizens should pick one before their 22nd birthday.
Naomi's mother, Tamaki, explained that they wanted their daughter to represent their country at a young age because of their family's Japanese upbringing.
DOES NAOMI OSAKA HAVE A BOYFRIEND?
Since becoming victorious in playing tennis, Naomi has emerged triumphantly in the love department. The tennis superstar is dating Grammy-nominated rapper Cordae, formerly known as YBN Cordae.
The "Chronicles" hitmaker first met Naomi during a Los Angeles Clippers game in 2019. Cordae admitted he did not know who she was when they met until he watched the U.S. Open three years ago.
The pair has been private about their relationship, but in 2020, Naomi opened up a sweet detail about the musician. Cordae supported the tennis icon during the hard times amid the pandemic.
Naomi Osaka and Cordae attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Washington Wizards at Staples Center on December 1, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
NAOMI OSAKA STRUGGLES WITH MENTAL HEALTH
The pandemic, which urged people to isolate away from their loved ones, had been challenging for Naomi. The tennis sensation opened up about suffering from depression since 2018.
She explained that she has a hard time coping with the condition. The revelation happened after she withdrew from the French Open in May 2021 to protect her mental health.
Afterward, Naomi took a break from competing on the court. She remarked that publicly discussing mental health was vital because it provided her clarity.
While on a break, Naomi started writing in her journal, which has become a part of her self-care routine. She said it helps her accomplish things and organize her thoughts.
Besides advocating for mental health, Naomi has actively spoken out against racial injustices and demonstrated her activism in previous tennis events by wearing black facemasks to protest against racial violence.
Naomi joins the ranks of athletes who have spoken out against racism. Other celebrities include Serena Williams and her sister, Venus, and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.