Naomi Osaka facts

Even if you aren’t a sports fanatic, you’d have heard of Naomi Osaka. One of the most prominent tennis players today, Naomi Osaka was the final torchbearer in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Game.

On the court, she’s known for her powerful serves and aggressive playstyle. Off-court, however, she is known to be quirky and quiet. Here are 8 Naomi Osaka facts you may not have known about the iconic tennis star.

1. Osaka gave up her US citizenship to play for Japan

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Born in Japan, Naomi Osaka moved to the US at the age of 3. She was in possession of dual citizenship, but since the Japanese law requires her to select only one at the age of 22, she decided to keep her Japanese citizenship.

The decision to play for Japan was also influenced by her father, who believes that the Japan Tennis Association would provide more support for her as compared to their US counterpart.

2. Osaka’s BTS bias is RM

naomi osaka facts - bts bias
Image credit:
@naomiosaka and @btsrm.official

During an interview before the 2019 Mutua Madrid Open, Osaka mentioned that she slowly got into BTS – a South Korean boy band – during the I Need U era, after noticing their popularity.

She also liked many of BTS’ tweets, particularly those from RM, the leader of the group.

naomi osaka facts - RM
Image credit
: @lalala.lovit

Osaka’s love for RM can also be seen from her Twitter post on Valentine’s Day, which shows her smiling while RM’s solo song Trivia 承: Love plays in the background.

naomi osaka facts - IG account on rapper
Image adapted from: @naomiosaka

The tennis player also revealed that she once ran an Instagram page dedicated to rapper J-Hope’s forehead. And that’s on taste.

3. Osaka is an avid gamer

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Aside from playing tennis, Osaka also plays a lot of video games, with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim being her favourite.

naomi osaka facts - overwatch
Image credit:
Wikimedia Commons

After long hours of training, she often goes home to play Overwatch – a team-based multiplayer first-person shooter – with her older sister for about four to five hours straight.

Interestingly, despite being known for her aggressive playstyle on the court, she often plays as a healer or in a defensive role in Overwatch.

4. She’s a memelord 

naomi osaka facts - memelord
Image credit:
BNP Paribas Open and knowyourmeme

When describing how she felt about a game during an interview, Osaka used a meme to describe herself. “I think towards the end, I didn’t know I won the match point. So then I was sort of like Caveman Spongebob,” she said.

She also once quoted the opening theme song from Pokémon, saying she strives “to be the very best, like no one ever was”, when questioned about her ambitions during an interview after winning in the 2016 Australia Open.

5. Osaka is an anime fan

naomi osaka facts - anime fan
Image credit:
IMDb and IMDb

In an Instagram fan Q&A session, Osaka mentioned that Code Geass and Death Note were among her top five favourite animes. She also mentioned she has too many favourite animes to list.

6. Osaka is an advocate for mental health and racial justice

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Osaka is a strong advocate for racial justice and mental health. When news about police brutality against black people were brought to light, she withdrew from the 2020 Cincinnati Open to raise awareness for Jacob Blake, a black man who was a victim of police brutality.

Osaka also flew to Minneapolis to donate and protest the murder of George Floyd by a police officer that the same year. During the 2020 US open, she wore different masks with the names of the victims of police brutality to speak out on racial injustices.

naomi osaka facts - mental health
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Osaka has also been highlighting the issue of mental health issues, particularly among athletes and the media.

Having skipped press conferences for the 2021 French Open and entirely stepping down from the 2021 French Open to work on her mental health, Osaka triggered a wider discussion of mental health issues amongst athletes. She also mentioned that there aren’t many who are concerned with the mental health of athletes, as demonstrated by the kind of questions asked during sports press conferences.

7. Osaka is dating rapper Cordae

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Osaka’s relationship with Cordae was first revealed in July 2019 by the rapper during a radio show. Interestingly, despite Osaka’s popularity in the world of sports, Cordae didn’t know who she was when they first met. Even though both of them decided to keep their relationship away from social media, based on what they’ve shown so far, we know that they are very supportive of each other.

8. Osaka has her own Netflix series

naomi osaka facts - netflix series
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Thanks to the many achievements that Osaka has under her belt, she has her own eponymous Netflix series. Released on 16th July 2021, it depicts not just her professional tennis career, but also her own personal life. The series documents her struggles, identity, and ambitions.

Naomi Osaka facts to know about the top tennis player

Despite being a popular star athlete, Naomi Osaka is relatable to us normies as she shares many hobbies with us, be watching anime, appreciating memes, or simping for an idol.

For more Japanese-related articles, check out:

Cover image adapted from: @naomiosaka and @naomiosaka

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