“It Makes Your Dream Attainable”: How Naomi Osaka Is Giving Back to Her Hometown Community

Published 09/08/2021, 10:30 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Women’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates winning her final match against Jennifer Brady of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Just days before the 2021 US Open, Naomi Osaka visited a familiar park in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens, New York, where she learned tennis. However, this time, the 4-time Grand Slam champion came to attend the unveiling of five refurbished tennis courts with brand new nets and surfaces.

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Osaka in collaboration with the sports drinks company Bodyarmor, who also funded the project, gave back to the Queens community, a place that played an instrumental role in her tennis career.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates winning her quarter final match against Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh REUTERS/Loren Elliott
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Naomi Osaka

There, at the Detective Keith L. Williams Park, Osaka unveiled the tennis courts. It was a poignant moment for the tennis star, who interacted with people in the neighborhood and listened to their stories of watching her play on these courts.

“I guess everyone here has seen me when I was little because there are all telling me stories about it. Just to come back here and soaking all the time and memories is really important,” Osaka said, in an interview.

For the kids, it was a dream come true. The former World No.1 chatted with her fans and played a few rallies with children of different age groups.

Reminiscing about the time she and her sister, Mari, practiced on the same courts, Osaka mentioned coming back to the courts she played on as a child makes the dream of becoming a tennis champion achievable.

“For me, I would feel like, it makes your dreams look attainable. It doesn’t look so far off and, of course, it not,” said Osaka.

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Over the past year, Osaka served as the creative and practical adviser on how to renovate the tennis courts. She has been making efforts to help the less privileged through her foundation and doesn’t stop from raising her voice for the right causes.

However, on the professional front, the last few months have been turbulent for Osaka as she has been struggling with mental health issues.

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As a result, she withdrew from the French Open, which was the first time she revealed suffering from bouts of depression, and then the Wimbledon Championships. After her recent third-round exit from the US Open, Osaka plans to take an indefinite break from tennis.

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Kshitij Tayal

464 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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