“Much More Than Off-Court Success”: Naomi Osaka Reveals What the Pandemic Taught Her

Published 03/19/2021, 9:17 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her semi final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Kelly Defina


Tennis superstar, Naomi Osaka, said that the Covid-19 pandemic, while taking lives and wrecking livelihoods, also brought her to the realization that personal happiness has a lot to do with professional success.

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Amid the global gloom and a season cut short because of the pandemic, the 23-year-old Osaka brought a measure of joy to her diehards as well as tennis followers by lifting her third career Grand Slam title at last year’s US Open.

Naomi Osaka says being around her loved ones during the pandemic was a “silver lining”

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She followed up her success at the Flushing Meadows with a Major championship win at the Australian Open this year, becoming the second player since former Russian star Maria Sharapova to win four career Grand Slam titles.

In a column for leading US daily The Wall Street Journal, the current World Number 2 said that for many people across the globe, being in the safe confines of their homes with their loved ones was a “silver lining to the pandemic”.

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

“It helped me to learn that my own happiness has much more to do with success off the court than on it,” the Japanese wrote.

What she meant by “success off court” was to see happy faces at home and one’s immediate circle of friends and relatives, knowing they were all staying safe and healthy in these tumultuous times.

Naomi Osaka says one can’t put a price tag on spending time with family and friends

The 23-year-old, who hasn’t played since winning her second Australian Open title, said that the pandemic has only served to reinforce that being among one’s family and friends is a blessing that one should never take for granted.

“You can’t put a price on spending time with family and friends, and the pandemic has taught us all not to take that for granted,” Osaka wrote.

Shy and reserved by nature, the Japanese star prefers to spend time idling at home with kin and friends when not on Tour.

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Arguably at the peak of her powers at the minute, Osaka’s recent run of success has not only put her at the pinnacle of contemporary women’s tennis but has also further raised her profile and is standing as a global icon.

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She isn’t shy to voice her opinion on issues outside tennis as well and in a classic illustration of that at the US Open, she was pictured sporting a range of self-designed face masks on match days scribbled with messages of support for the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

845 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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