Making good use of her tag of being the ‘highest-paid female athlete’, Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has taken up some sports and welfare projects as part of her involvement with the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club in LA.
As part of the initiative, the three-time Grand Slam champion will fund a range of repairs and also set up new sports infrastructure and facilities for the benefit of budding athletes.
From running repairs on a baseball field to realigning locker room benches in a way as to make it easier for handicapped athletes to use them, the former World Number 1 plans to bring a wholesome change to sports infrastructure wherever there is a scope for the same.
The club has sought public feedback on the projects that will be conducted in two phases. The first lot of projects would include repairing a baseball field, including infield dirt replacement, sprinkler repairs, scoreboard repair and re-seeding or fertilizing outfield grass.
The next phase would feature investing in a handicap lift for the swimming pool and adjusting placement of locker room benches to allow 360-degree turnaround for wheelchairs.
The reigning US Open champion will also put her money into upgrading nets on basketball hoops and goals, as well as funding the make of new uniforms.
Osaka has never made a secret of her love for basketball and considers departed NBA stalwart Kobe Bryant to be her mentor.
In a recent interview to Vogue magazine, the Japanese star shared memories of the slum-dunk legend saying that she was introduced to Kobe at a time when her career was on the downhill.
She said she had lost a lot of matches on the trot and had dropped down the rankings as well, resulting in an element of self-doubt creeping into her game.
Osaka said she was having trouble living up to the expectations of someone who had won her first two Grand Slam titles fairly early in her career.
The Japanese revealed that was when she sought the advice of the NBA superstar who said one simply has to plug away and keep trying till results go her way.
Osaka said it was that piece of advice which inspired her to her third Grand Slam title last year and make a timely turnaround to her career.
The World Number 3 would be eyeing her fourth Major title at the Australian Open.