Here we bring you all the information on Naomi Osaka, a Japanese professional tennis player and also the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles.
Table of Contents
Basic Information Of Naomi Osaka
|Residence||Beverly Hills, California, U.S.|
|Born||October 16, 1997 (age 23)|
Chūō-Ku, Osaka, Japan
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Turned pro||September 2013|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Career record||246–136 (64.4%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (January 28, 2019)|
|Current ranking||No. 2 (February 22, 2021)|
|Australian Open||W (2019, 2021)|
|French Open||3R (2016, 2018, 2019)|
|Wimbledon||3R (2017, 2018)|
|US Open||W (2018, 2020)|
|Tour Finals||RR (2018, 2019)|
|Career record||2–14 (12.5%)|
|Highest ranking||No. 324 (April 3, 2017)|
|Australian Open||1R (2017)|
|French Open||2R (2016)|
|US Open||1R (2016, 2017)|
|Fed Cup||WG II PO (2018)|
|Hopman Cup||RR (2018)|
Naomi Osaka Personal & Professional Life
Naomi Osaka was born on October 16, 1997, in Chūō-Ku, Osaka in Japan to Tamaki Osaka and Leonard François. Her mother is from Hokkaido, Japan, and her father is from Jacmel, Haiti. She has an older sister named Mari who is a former professional tennis player. The two girls were given their mother’s family name for practical reasons when the family lived in Japan. Osaka’s parents met when her father was visiting Hokkaido while he was a college student in New York.
When Osaka was three years old, her family moved from Japan to Valley Stream, New York on Long Island to live with her father’s parents. Her father was inspired to teach his daughters how to play tennis by watching the Williams sisters compete at the 1999 French Open. Having little experience as a tennis player himself, he sought to emulate how Richard Williams trained his daughters to become two of the best players in the world, despite having never played the sport. François remarked that “the blueprint was already there. I just had to follow it,” with regard to the detailed plan Richard had developed for his daughters. He began coaching Naomi and Mari once they settled in the United States.
In 2006, her family moved to Florida when she was eight or nine years old so that they would have better opportunities to train. She practiced on the Pembroke Pines public courts. When she was 15 years old, she began working with Patrick Tauma at the ISP Academy. In 2014, Naomi Osaka moved to the Harold Solomon Tennis Academy, and later trained at the ProWorld Tennis Academy.
Osaka had a shy, reserved personality in her early years on the WTA Tour. Her former coach Sascha Bajin was initially confused by her personality, saying, “I thought she was a little bit more of a diva because she didn’t talk much.
She doesn’t really look at someone’s eyes, but that’s just because she was always so shy … Back then I didn’t know for what reason.”Osaka is also very frank and is regarded as having a dry sense of humor.
During her 2018 Indian Wells Open victory speech, she began by saying “Um, hello … I’m Naom … oh never mind” and later noted, “This is probably going to be the worst acceptance speech of all time” after being worried about forgetting whom to thank, and appearing to nearly forget to thank her opponent, Daria Kasatkina as well as one of her sponsors, Yonex.
So let us know more about the debut and the journey from there.
2011–2015: WTA Tour Match Win At 16, And Also Top 150
Osaka never competed on the ITF Junior Circuit, the premier international junior tour, and only played in a small number of junior tournaments at any age level.
Naomi Osaka played her first qualifying match in October 2011 on her 14th birthday. She then made her professional main draw debut in doubles at her next tournament in March with her sister Mari. Meanwhile, she did not qualify for her first singles the main draw until July in her seventh such attempt. Her best result of the 2012 season came at the ITF $10K event in Amelia Island, where she lost to her sister in the semifinals.
Osaka has never won a title at the ITF level, only managing to finish runner-up on four occasions. Her first two finals came at the $25K level, one of which was in June 2013 in El Paso, Texas. The other was in March 2014 in Irapuato, Mexico, and included a victory over her sister.
In September 2013, Osaka turned professional shortly before turning 16 years old. She entered her first two qualifying draws on the WTA Tour that same month at the Challenge Bell in Québec and the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. The latter event was her first opportunity to compete professionally in Japan.
The following summer, Osaka qualified for her first WTA main draw at the 2014 Stanford Classic. In her tour-level debut, she upset world No. 19 Samantha Stosur in a tight match where she saved a match point in the second set tiebreak and came back from a 5–3 deficit in the third set.
She was still just 16 years old and ranked No. 406 at the time. Osaka also won a match as a wild card at the Japan Women’s Open, her only other WTA main draw of the year. These victories helped her progress into the top 250 of the WTA rankings before the end of the season.
Despite not winning another WTA main draw singles match in 2015, Osaka continued to climb up the rankings. She reached her two highest level ITF finals, the first at the $75K Kangaroo Cup in Japan and the second at the $50K Surbiton Trophy in the United Kingdom.
Following these runner-up results, Osaka was ranked high enough to enter qualifying at the last two Grand Slam singles events of the year, Wimbledon and the US Open. She won her first match at the US Open but was unable to qualify for either main draw. Nonetheless, Osaka had a strong finish to the year.
In October during the WTA Finals, she won the Rising Stars Invitational four-player exhibition tournament, defeating heavy favorite and world No. 35 Caroline Garcia in the final. Continuing to play in November, Osaka then reached the biggest final of her career at the WTA 125K Hua Hin Championships in Thailand. After a semifinal at a $75K event in Japan, she finished the year ranked No. 144.
2016: First WTA Final, Newcomer and Also Top 50
Osaka began the season playing three tournaments in Australia. Her results during this stretch were good enough to bring her near the top 100, which allowed her to play in WTA Tour-level events all year. Most notably, Naomi Osaka qualified for her first Grand Slam main draw at the Australian Open and made it to the third round. In particular, she upset No. 21 Elina Svitolina in straight sets in the second round before losing to No. 16 Victoria Azarenka. Back in the United States, Osaka received a wild card into the Miami Open, her first Premier Mandatory main draw. During the event, she won two matches including a victory over No. 18 Sara Errani. With this success, she progressed into the top 100 of the WTA rankings for the first time.
In the clay-court events leading up to the French Open, Osaka needed to qualify for every event she entered. She only managed to do so at a single event, the Charleston Open, where she lost her only match in the main draw. Nonetheless, Osaka was ranked high enough to be directly accepted into the main draw of the French Open. In her debut at the tournament, she recorded her only two clay-court match wins of the season. She also won the first set against No. 6 Simona Halep, but ultimately lost the match. She then did not play the grass-court season after suffering an injury shortly after the French Open.
Osaka returned to tennis in the middle of July. At the US Open in August, she reached the third round at a Grand Slam event for the third time that year. She upset No. 30 CoCo Vandeweghe in the first round before losing to No. 9 Madison Keys in three sets.
During her match against Keys, she had a 5–1 lead in the third set before ultimately losing in a tiebreak. After the tournament, Osaka began the Asian hard court season with two tournaments in Tokyo, first losing in the second round at the Japan Women’s Open.
Having already reached her first two career WTA quarterfinals earlier in the year, she then made her breakthrough as a wild card at the Premier level Pan Pacific Open. She upset No. 12 Dominika Cibulková and No. 20 Svitolina on the road to making her first WTA final at the age of 18.
At the time, Cibulkova was the highest-ranked player she ever defeated. Additionally, she was the first Japanese player to contest the final at the event since Kimiko Date in 1995, Osaka ultimately finished runner-up to Caroline Wozniacki. Nonetheless, she entered the top 50 of the WTA rankings for the first time. At the end of the season, she was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year.
The Year Of 2017
After her huge improvement the previous year, Osaka was unable to set a new career-high ranking in 2017. Nonetheless, Naomi maintained a steady ranking throughout the season, rising no higher than No. 44 while falling no lower than No. 68, her year-end ranking. She did not win more than two main draw matches at any event all year.
Osaka’s best tournament result of the season came at the Canadian Open, where she reached the round of sixteen as a qualifier. During the event, she upset No. 16 Anastasija Sevastova before needing to retire against world No. 1 Karolína Plíšková due to an abdominal injury. Naomi Osaka had won the second set against Plíšková.
Her next best results of the year came at the last two Grand Slam events of the season, where she made it to the third round at each of Wimbledon and the US Open. She had a strong debut at Wimbledon, upsetting No. 23 Barbora Strýcová before losing to No. 11 Venus Williams.
Her US Open was then highlighted by her first-round win against defending champion and No. 6 Angelique Kerber, the first top ten victory of Osaka’s career. However, her run was ended by veteran qualifier Kaia Kanepi. This was the second consecutive year she lost in the third round of the US Open after having at least a one-break lead in the third set.
Osaka in particular struggled to play on clay courts. After winning her first two matches at the Charleston Open, she did not win another main draw match on clay for the remainder of the season.
Osaka did well in her first full grass-court season on the WTA Tour, going 4–4 behind her performance at Wimbledon. Her biggest wins of the year all came on hard court. In addition to her results at the Canadian Open and the US Open, she also recorded a second top ten victory over No. 5, Venus Williams, at the Hong Kong Open, her last tournament of the year.
2018: Two Titles, And World No. 4
Following her lack of improvement in 2017, Osaka hired Sascha Bajin to be her coach in the offseason. In their second tournament together, Osaka produced her career-best result at a Grand Slam event. At the Australian Open, she reached the fourth round after defeating two top-twenty players in Elena Vesnina and hometown favorite Ashleigh Barty, ultimately losing to world No. 1 Simona Halep. This result helped her return to the top 50 within the next month.
At the Indian Wells Open, Osaka had the next big breakthrough of her career. Having never won a professional title or made it past the third round at a Premier Mandatory event, she won the tournament convincingly, only dropping one set in the middle round of the tournament, making her the youngest champion at the event in ten years. With her first title, she surged past her previous career-high ranking to No. 22 in the world.
After her success in the early months of the season, Osaka had a relatively quiet middle of the year. She reached the third round at both the French Open and Wimbledon, matching her best performance at each tournament. The closest she came to winning another tournament was on grass at the Nottingham Open, where she lost to top seed Barty in the semifinals.
Osaka did not have another breakthrough result until the US Open, where she won her second title of the year. Like at Indian Wells, she only dropped one set in the middle round of the event. In the final, she defeated Serena Williams for the second time in 2018 to win her first grand slam title. She became the first Japanese woman to contest a Grand Slam singles final and the first Japanese Grand Slam singles champion.
With her consecutive deep run, she rose to a career-best ranking of world No. 4, matching the record of Kimiko Date and Kei Nishikori for the highest-ranking held by a Japanese player in history.
2019: World No. 1, And Australian Open Champion
Osaka entered the Australian Open as the fourth seed and also one of eleven players in contention for the world No. 1 ranking. She made it to the final against Petra Kvitová, after Osaka won the first set in the final, Kvitová saved three championship break points before breaking Osaka in back-to-back service games to win the second set.
Nonetheless, Osaka recovered to win the championship, and became the first woman to win consecutive Grand Slam singles titles since Serena Williams in 2015 and was the first player to follow up her first Grand Slam singles title with another at the next such event since Jennifer Capriati in 2001. She also became the first Asian player to be ranked No. 1 in the world in singles.
2020: Second Time US Open Champion
Osaka only played four tournaments in 2020, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the tour shutdown, she lost to No. 2 Karolína Plíšková in a semifinal at the Brisbane International and Coco Gauff in the third round of the Australian Open, squandering a chance to serve for the match in the former.
When the tour resumed, Osaka played the Cincinnati Open and the US Open, which were held in back-to-back weeks in New York. Osaka did not lose a match at either event. At the Cincinnati Open, she defeated four players ranked in the 20s before defaulting in the final against Victoria Azarenka due to a hamstring injury.
Both Osaka and Azarenka reached the final again at the US Open, where Osaka became the first player to win a US Open women’s singles final by coming from a set down since 1994. This was her second US Open title in three years.
The Year Of The Second Australian Open Title: 2021
Osaka was seeded third at the Australian Open. She recorded straight-set wins over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Caroline Garcia, and Ons Jabeur, before defeating Garbiñe Muguruza in three sets in the fourth round despite facing match points during the third set (the only match in which she lost a set during the tournament). She went on to defeat Hsieh Su-Wei in the quarterfinals, Serena Williams in the semifinals, and 22nd seed Jennifer Brady in the final to claim her second Australian Open title. Naomi Osaka became one of only three players in the Open Era to win her first four Grand Slam finals, alongside Roger Federer and Monica Seles.
Naomi Osaka Career Statistics
|Titles||0||0||0||2||3||1||1||Career total: 7|
|Finals||0||1||0||3||3||2||1||Career total: 10|