“People Told My Dad I Would Never be Anything”: Naomi Osaka Reveals Struggles of Becoming Slam champion

Published 07/16/2021, 8:49 AM EDT
Naomi Osaka of Japan with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup following victory in her Women’s Singles Final match against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during day 13 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka’s much-awaited docuseries was finally released today. The Netflix original titled ‘Naomi Osaka’, stars the 23-year-old with a gripping tale to tell. The series gives an insight into her journey to the top, revealing what it takes to be the world’s best. It covers Naomi’s road to glory and an agonizing reality that few are aware of.


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Naomi has been away from the sport for almost 2 months now. Ever since her withdrawal from the French Open, Naomi hasn’t returned to the court. However, fans can enjoy watching Naomi on-screen, as she narrates her story in a way that hasn’t been heard before.


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In the first episode of the series, the Japanese International takes a trip down memory lane, as she makes some shocking revelations about her life growing up and the struggles she faced to win her first Grand Slam title.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 05: Naomi Osaka of Japan shows her frustrations in her semi final match against Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine during day seven of the 2019 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena on January 05, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Life growing up

In the first episode, Naomi talks about the big part tennis played in her childhood. She recalls training for endless hours, even as a 3-year-old. She said, “Sometimes I feel like I’m a vessel because I’ve been playing tennis since I was three. I just like train and practice constantly.”

She reveals how, even at a young age, she had always faced criticism and doubts. Speaking of an instance, she said “So many people have told my dad that I would never be anything.” It is safe to say she has proved everyone wrong.

In 2018, Naomi Osaka became the first-ever Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title. At the US Open final, she defeated her idol, Serena Williams, and announced herself to the world in exuberant fashion. However, what followed was unwanted media attention. The camera’s lens captured Naomi’s discomfort despite winning her first title. The youngster was still processing the fact that what was once her dream now had become her reality. Therefore, she wasn’t prepared for the center stage yet.

“I think the amount of attention that I get is kind of ridiculous. No one prepares you for that, you know? It’s really weird sometimes,” she said.


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18 days ago

Naomi Osaka returns to the court


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Naomi withdrew from the French Open earlier this year, on the grounds of mental health. Surrounded by unpleasant media attention, Naomi decided to not take part in both the clay and the grass-court events. Her shocking withdrawal left fans disappointed, but they acknowledged her decision with patience and understanding.

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

However, fans can rest at ease now, as Naomi Osaka will return to court at the National Bank Open event in Montreal. Overjoyed fans couldn’t contain their excitement at hearing the news. Osaka will also represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympics. Fans are surely in for a treat as a hungry Naomi returns to the court, hopefully feeling as good as new and ready to add another accolade to her name.


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Watch This Link: Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Bianca Andreescu and Other Tennis Stars Who Featured in the ‘Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’

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Melroy Fernandes

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Melroy Joseph Fernandes is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. A Mass Media graduate, Melroy has been a content writer for the past 6 years, curating stories for several brands, starting from his own. At the age of 17, Melroy began his writing Journey with Team BIB, an event management company for everything Art and Entertainment.