“Pressure Is a Privilege”: Naomi Osaka Reveals the Best Advice She Received in Life

Published 04/27/2021, 9:30 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates winning her first round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Loren Elliott


World No. 2 Naomi Osaka is one of the most prominent names on the women’s Tour. She tasted her first bit of major success when she won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open 2018. Since then, she has not looked back and only climbed to greater heights. 

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Recently, Naomi Osaka spoke about various issues, but one important topic was how she handles pressure. Being a youngster, she showcases a calm attitude and at times she seems unfazed by the pressure during crucial moments in matches.

The Japanese player credits tennis legend Billie Jean King for the advice she gave her. Osaka stated, “The best advice I’ve received is from Billie Jean King, who famously said, ‘pressure is a privilege.”

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Tennis – Australian Open – Women’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Jennifer Brady of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Naomi Osaka handled pressure during the US Open 2018 final

Naomi’s match against Williams during the US Open 2018 final stands out when it comes to pressure. During the match, the American athlete lost her cool with the chair umpire, and things got ugly. It so happened that the entire crowd was on Williams’ side, which put Naomi in something of an awkward position.

However, the Japanese star seemed unaffected and did exactly what she had stepped on the court for. Eventually, she won the match in straight sets, 6-2 6-4. For a first-time finalist at a Grand Slam event to beat a 23-time Grand Slam winner is astonishing. But to do it in front of her opponent’s home crowd speaks volumes of her character and ability to handle pressure. 

Naomi Osaka of Japan hugs Serena Williams of the United States after winning the Women’s Singles finals match on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018, in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The perfect start

In the current season, the Japanese player lifted her fourth overall Grand Slam title and a second in Melbourne. Thanks to this latest Major in her cabinet, she climbed up the rankings and became the second-best player in the world. Later, she competed in Miami where her 23-match winning streak came to an end. 

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She is scheduled to feature in the WTA Madrid Open 2021, which will be the first WTA 1000 clay-court event of the season. She will look forward to a more successful clay-court season as compared to previous years. 

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A post shared by Billie Jean King (@billiejeanking)

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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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