‘It Was an Honor’- Japanese Surfer Kanoa Igarashi Lauds Naomi Osaka for Speaking Out on Important Issues

Published 03/05/2022, 11:50 AM EST
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 30: Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates against Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic during their Women’s Singles first round match on Day One of the 2021 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has been one of the most popular tennis players of recent times. Not only has she won 4 Grand Slam titles, but she also has been vocal about several pressing issues like mental health in athletes and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kanoa Igarashi is a competitive surfer, hailing from Osama’s home country, Japan. He recently took to Instagram to post about a unique way in which he chose to honour the tennis star.

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Igarashi says he was proud to represent Japan alongside Naomi Osaka. The international women’s day is on the 8th of March, and on the account of the upcoming day, Kanoa Igarashi honored Naomi Osaka at a recent tournament he played. During the round 1 heat, he wore a jersey with Osaka’s name on the back. He also posted a picture of the same and wrote an extremely heartfelt caption.

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“It was an honor to represent @naomiosaka yesterday in my round 1 heat. She inspires me to be real. In todays day in age, athletes are judged not only inside our arena but more so outside of our competition habitat. That can really affect the way we perceive ourselves to the world, but she is honest and speaks on important matters on and off the court. I’m proud to represent Japan with you,” the post elaborated.

Naomi Osaka reacts to the sweet gesture.

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Naomi Osaka herself is quite active on social media. She promptly replied to the post, sharing it on her own profile as a story. She also thanked Igarashi for the mention.

Naomi Osaka, like Igarashi mentioned, has always been outspoken about the issues she cares about. She played only select tournaments in 2021, choosing to focus on her mental health instead. Though she did not have great results at the 2022 Australian Open, she seems motivated for her next appearance at the Indian Wells Masters.

Tennis – WTA 250 – Melbourne Summer Set – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 4, 2022 Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her round of 32 match against France’s Alize Cornet REUTERS/Loren Elliott

WATCH THIS STORYA day with tennis star Naomi Osaka

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While she retired from her last tournament with a minor injury, her demeanour seems a lot more cheerful, showing that she will be soon back to her hard-hitting, strong-serving self.

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Rishma Banerjee

321 articles

Rishma Banerjee is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having done her masters in Political Science with International Relations from Jadavpur University, Rishma's outlet from the hustle-bustle of academics has always been sports, especially Tennis. A die-hard fan of Rafael Nadal, she admires his grit, determination and dedication towards always being better. When not writing content for firms dealing with fintech to social media marketing to sports, she finds herself in journals and books dealing with geopolitics and strategic studies or scrolling endlessly through Tumblr!

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