“Doesn’t Bother Me”: Naomi Osaka Reflects on Getting the World No. 1 Tag

Published 02/06/2021, 7:00 AM EST
Tennis – Yarra Valley Classic – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 5, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her quarter final match against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Three-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka is one of the most popular players in the game. In the recent past, the Japanese star signed a number of endorsement deals, with popular brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer, and Workday. She continues to enjoy success, both on the tennis courts and off it too. 

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The world’s third-best player is currently in Australia, preparing for the first Grand Slam of the season. Prior to the Australian Open, Osaka was part of the WTA 500 Melbourne 2021. During a post-match press conference, she reflected on the possibility of her becoming World No. 1 again. 

Tennis star Naomi Osaka of Japan practices at Melbourne Park in advance of the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Naomi Osaka: “People Don’t See Me as a Number One”

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The 23-year-old player stated, “I would say yes. But it doesn’t bother me because I remember when I first got to number one and I think nobody really acknowledged me as number one. I remember I was in Indian Wells and I was talking to someone. They asked me what side of the draw are you on? And the number one is always on the top side. I was like wow, people don’t really see me as a number one.”

The 2020 US Open champion focuses on the current scenario and prefers to concentrate on each match at a time and if the chance of her getting the top ranking looms around the corner, she’ll accept it. 

Tennis – A Day at the Drive Exhibition – Memorial Drive Tennis Club, Adelaide, Australia – January 29, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka talks to the media at A Day at The Drive REUTERS/Morgan Sette

The Japanese starlet further added, “It was two years ago, I just kept trying to prove myself and I felt that’s not a good mindset to have. I feel right now I’m at a good place. I want to play every match as hard as I can and if it comes to the point where I can be number one again, I’ll embrace it but I’m not really chasing that anymore.”

At the moment, Naomi is preparing for the Australian Open, beginning on Monday. In the previous year, she lost in the third round. Osaka won the Australian Open in 2019, which was her second Grand Slam title. 

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Rohan Kollare

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Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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