Naomi Osaka's contributions on and off the court have made her a global icon. But even her popularity arguably pales in comparison to Elmo, a popular character on the beloved children's show Sesame Street.
Osaka took to social media to post a picture of herself with Elmo. The Japanese was also seen hanging out around the set of the show with another well-known character, Ernie.
Sesame Street is an educational children's show that has been around since 1969. Featuring the adventures of the characters from The Muppets, the show provides a fun learning experience for kids with humor and relevant cultural references.
Based on her post, it looks like Naomi Osaka may be a guest star in an upcoming episode. However, she wouldn't be the first tennis player to hang out with the residents of Sesame Street. Venus Williams, Martina Navratilova, Arthur Ashe and Michael Chang have also appeared on the show.
Naomi Osaka's tennis hiatus continues
Following her third-round loss to eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez at this year's US Open, Naomi Osaka announced that she'd be taking a break from tennis as she wasn't happy competing.
"Recently, like, when I win, I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad," Osaka said. "I don’t think that’s normal. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match."
However, on a recent appearance on the show "The Shop: Uninterrupted," the 23-year-old stated that she feels the "itch" to play again and might return to the court soon.
"For sure I love the sport," Osaka said. "I know I'm gonna play again, probably soon because I kind of have that itch again. But it wouldn’t really matter to me if I won or lost. I'd just have the joy of being back on the court. Just to, like, you know, that I’m doing it for myself."
But her prolonged absence from the tour this year will make things difficult for the four-time Slam champion, who is set to exit the top 10 of the WTA rankings next week.
Early round match-ups with higher-ranked players will be a possibility as she slides down the rankings, but at her best, Naomi Osaka is capable of beating anyone on the tour.