“Tough Lives”: Naomi Osaka Reveals Her Deep-Rooted Attachment With Haitian Culture

Published 04/07/2021, 5:16 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 16, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates winning her quarter final match against Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Japanese-born Naomi Osaka is generating a reputation on and off the tennis court at an exponential rate. But despite all her fame and success, she is also one of the most down-to-earth athletes in the world. One of the reasons for that could be her rich, multi-cultural, ethnic background.

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Born to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, Osaka is close to both heritages. Moreover, she has lived in America since she was three years old, and so, she also has an American side. But the 23-year-old chose to represent Japan professionally and became the first-ever Japanese to win a Grand Slam and reach the No. 1 rank in the world.

Recently, she revealed how traveling to a Haitian school sometimes helps her put things into perspective.

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Naomi Osaka opens up on her recent visit to Haitian school

Naomi Osaka might be one of the most influential players on the women’s tour, but visiting Haiti and experiencing the spectrum outside tennis has its own merits.

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/Kelly Defina

“I have visited the school in Haiti a few times and it definitely helps put things into perspective. Sometimes I find myself getting very caught up in the microcosm that is the professional tennis tour, so it helps me take a step back and look at things from a more global lens when I visit,” Osaka said.

So far, the Japanese professional has already won four Grand Slam titles and is World No. 2. According to her, this would not have been possible without her parents. She even reflected on the balance of hardship and happiness in the outside world.

She said, “You see just how happy people are, even when from the outside, they seem to lead tough lives. For me, my parents sacrificed everything to give me and my sister the opportunity to live our dreams, and that will forever inspire me to give back to those who are less fortunate.”

Naomi has recently opened a tennis center in Japan to support young girls in sports. She also looks forward to being an inspiration for her generation by leading by example.

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Where will Osaka play next?

After the Australian Open glory, Naomi saw a surprising defeat against Maria Sakkari in the Miami Open quarterfinals. As of now, she has not yet disclosed where she will play next.

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Mar 29, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a backhand against Elise Mertens of Belgium (not pictured) in the fourth round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

However, the clay-court swing has begun in full fervor at the Charleston Open 2021. Tennis fans would be interested to see which clay tournament Naomi picks as her first.

Do you think Osaka can win another Grand Slam this year?

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Purav Joshi

590 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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