Naomi Osaka Fires Back at Critics Who Think She Does Not ‘Fit the Box of an Olympian’

Published 07/08/2021, 3:53 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Picture taken May 30, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Naomi Osaka shocked the world after withdrawing from the French Open citing mental health problems earlier this year. Although the Japanese star isn’t taking part in the ongoing Wimbledon Championships, she will compete in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics later this month.

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Ahead of the biggest attraction of the summer, the World No. 2 made a bold statement in a video released by the Olympics’ official YouTube channel.

Naomi Osaka believes the definition of an Olympian is changing

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Since Osaka turned pro in 2013, she has been a force to be reckoned with. In just eight years, the former World No. 1 has four Grand Slam victories to her name with a winning percentage of 64.4%. In addition, she is only the third player to win her first four Grand Slam finals after Roger Federer and Monica Seles.

Although she was the #2 seed at the French Open, her withdrawal after her first-round victory came as a shock to fans across the world. Despite facing a hefty fine for missing media duties, the Japanese openly spoke about her issues with mental health.

Hence, her actions throughout her career have some people doubting her credentials as an Olympian. However, Osaka made a statement with a video on the official Olympics YouTube channel by saying that the definition of an Olympian is changing today.

In the video, she says“I don’t fit the box of what an Olympian should be. But I am proof that the definition is bigger than people think… And if we don’t fit that expectation of what people think we’re supposed to be, good. That just means we’re the ones who get to change it.”

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Can Osaka clinch gold at the Tokyo Olympics?

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Although the Japanese international withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon, she started the year on a high. While her Australian Open victory is five months in the past, the Olympics are in her home country this year.

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 05: Men’s singles semi-finalist Kei Nishikori of Japan and women’s singles semi-finalist Naomi Osaka of Japan pose for a portrait outside The Kitano Hotel following their quarter-final matches on day 10 of the 2018 US Open at The Kitano Hotel on September 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

She will be one of the key prospects to clinch a gold medal for her country. And while the competition looks tough, Osaka looks likely to bounce back and bring her season back on track.

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WATCH STORY: Naomi Osaka’s Best Moments at Australian Open 2021: From Saving Match Points to Lifting the Title

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Sanket Nair

344 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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