Naomi Osaka Expands Her Academy to Los Angeles and Haiti To Empower More Girls Through Sport

Published 05/04/2021, 1:30 PM EDT
Naomi Osaka of Japan in action against Coco Gauff of the United States of America in the Women’s Singles Round three match on Arthur Ashe Stadium during the 2019 US Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on in Flushing, Queens, New York City. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)


Over the years, Naomi Osaka has become one of the biggest tennis icons in the world. Apart from being a champion on-court, Osaka has been promoting girls’ participation in sport through her academy.

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Launched in Tokyo last year, the ‘Play Academy with Naomi Osaka‘ aims to provide girls with a level playing field and make them role models of the future.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka after winning her semi final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

‘Play Academy with Naomi Osaka’ expands to two new cities

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Recently, the Play Academy announced its expansion plans to Los Angeles and Haiti. The noble initiative is in partnership with sportswear company, Nike, and Laureus Sport for Good to boost efforts of creating a more inclusive sport environment for girls.

In Los Angeles, the Play Academy will partner with multiple community organizations to ensure enhanced access to opportunities for girls and invest in positive play experiences. In Haiti, the academy will partner with GOALS Haiti, a non-profit organization, to support their mission of youth leadership through sport and education.

The collaborative effort aims to hire more female coaches and provide girls with education to build self-esteem and confidence.

Mastercard, Yonex, and other brands join in

Knowing the barriers faced by girls in taking up sports, especially for those from marginalized communities, Osaka’s academy will work with community partners to make a positive impact in their lives.

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Naomi Osaka of Japan with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup following victory in her Women’s Singles Final match against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during day 13 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2019, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

In fact, many corporates including Mastercard, BODYARMOR Sports Drink, Yonex, and Levi Strauss & Co. have extended their support to the Play Academy and pledged their commitment to providing the next generation of girls with access to opportunity.

On the tennis front, Osaka lost in the second round of the ongoing 2021 Madrid Open to Karolina Muchova in three sets. Since winning her 4th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open this year, Osaka has competed in just two tournaments thereafter and suffered early exits in both events.

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With just a month left for the 2021 French Open, the Japanese star will aim to reset her form and eye her first Grand Slam title on clay. Since her debut at Roland Garros in 2016, Osaka has failed to go past the third round.

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Kshitij Tayal

361 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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