December 5, 2022

Naomi Osaka is a Japanese tennis player and activist who became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title by winning the 2018 US Open. She was also the first Asian player to climb to the top of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) world rankings (2019). In addition, Osaka was known as a champion of social justice. She is also the first Asian player to take the top position in singles.

Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion. Her seven titles on the WTA Tour also include two at the Premier Mandatory level. At the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open, Osaka won her first two Grand Slam singles titles in back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments. She became the first woman to win consecutive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams in 2015 and was the first to win her first two in consecutive Majors since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

Osaka is one of the most marketable female athletes in the world, ranking eighth among all female athletes by advertising revenue in 2020. She was also the highest-earning female athlete of all time by annual income that year. Osaka has gained significant recognition as an activist for showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement in connection with her games.

Naomi Osaka/Nike | She went from relatively unknown to one of the best tennis players in the world by doing it her way

She was named one of the 2020 Sports Illustrated Sportspersons of the Year for her activism, primarily as part of her US Open championship run, and was included in Time’s annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World for both 2019 and 2020. She was the 2021 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, she became the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony. On court, Osaka has an aggressive style of play with a powerful serve that can reach 201 kilometers per hour.

More professional success

Naomi Osaka/Nike | Naomi Osaka has no interest in fitting into the mold

The highest-earning female athlete has reported 12-month prize money and $37.4 million in ad revenue, which catapulted to the top of the tennis star charts in the summer of 2018 when the Japanese-born, American-raised player with quieter Voice Serena defeated Williams in a high-profile US Open championship match. Osaka, then an Adidas athlete, followed up her first Grand Slam tournament title with victory at the next Grand Slam, the 2019 Australian Open.

Endorsement deals were strong and apparel manufacturers were keen to add Osaka to their portfolio. A bidding war between Adidas, Japan-based Uniqlo and Nike officially ended on April 4, 2019 when Osaka signed with the Swoosh. Osaka later said she chooses “brands that I feel connected to, either through organic usage, culture, or messaging.”

Jonathan DiMaggio/ Getty Images/ TRACO/ YouTube | Osaka has been working with the brand since April, when they decided not to renew their deal with Adidas

Recently, their Nike collection, released on May 16, is a respite from boring, single-purpose activewear. Influenced by Osaka’s own sense of style and design, this Nike collection includes corset hoodies, cropped t-shirts, a utility vest and an extra-cool (but comfortable-looking) bodysuit. And as striking as each piece is in its own right, the collection is surprisingly versatile in the way you can mix and match the items depending on your plans.

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