Naomi Osaka, Japan
Tennis’ new world number has impressed far and wide, and not just for her supreme skills on court. Indeed, Osaka’s grace in handling a controversial 2018 US Open final with Serena Williams earned plaudits globally. The nature of that victory catapulted her into the mainstream consciousness, capping a formidable year for the 21-year-old after rising from number 68 to number five in the world. Now a massive superstar across all of Asia and beyond, the burgeoning Japanese icon further enhanced her reputation with a stunning second Grand Slam success after a thrilling Australian Open final with Petra Kvitova in January. With two Slam titles to her name, the only way is up for the Florida native who’s stunning development over the past year will serve as an inspiration for future generations. Want a player to watch in 2019? Look no further.
– Naomi has an older sister Mari (22) who also plays professional tennis. The pair are often compared to the Williams sisters as just like Venus and Serena, their father also coached them at the start of their careers.
– Osaka became the first Asian player – man or women – to attain the world number one ranking in tennis.
– An aggressive and and powerful player on the court, Osaka is more candid off it, although she does often produce brilliant interviews with her honest outlook.
Did you know…
Osaka is a known video game lover. When she was profiled by GQ they talked about the Osaka sisters would play “four maybe, sometimes five hours of video games”.
“I would have given anything to be in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam, but it’s this weird feeling of you want to do the next big thing. And especially now that I won a Grand Slam, and I feel like I want to win another one. I just want to keep going.” – Naomi Osaka (Source: WTA)
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