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Naomi Osaka shares heartwarming video showcasing the spirit of Japanese wheelchair tennis player

Naomi Osaka at the 2021 US Open.
Naomi Osaka at the 2021 US Open.
Rohit R
ANALYST

Naomi Osaka recently shared a heartwarming clip on social media of a young Japanese woman figuring out a way to stay active and play tennis despite being in a wheelchair.

In the short video, which was put together by Google Japan, the woman credits Osaka for inspiring her to pursue tennis. She also highlights how the Japanese star's off-court activism inspired her to face adversities in her own life.

"I love to move my body. And there's this energy within me that led me to start playing tennis," the woman said in the video posted by Osaka. "When I watch Naomi Osaka, it makes me want to copy her attitude of how she tackles challenges. I think I'm only riding something different, but there's no difference in what we do."

Over the course of her career, Osaka's stance on social justice issues has made her a role model for many people across the globe.

Last year, the four-time Grand Slam winner brought the issue of racial injustice and police brutality to the forefront during her matches at the US Open. This year, Osaka started a conversation about mental health issues in sports.

Her activism has enabled her to become one of the most influential figures of her generation, and was recognized as such by Time Magazine.

Naomi Osaka's tennis hiatus continues

Naomi Osaka (L) lost to Leylah Fernandez (R) at the 2021 US Open.
Naomi Osaka (L) lost to Leylah Fernandez (R) at the 2021 US Open.

Naomi Osaka entered the 2021 US Open as the defending champion and one of the favorites for the title. However, she lost in the third round to eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez. Following the loss, Osaka announced she'd be taking a break from tennis as she no longer finds joy in 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. I don’t think that’s normal," Osaka said. "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."

The final WTA 1000 event of the season, Indian Wells, starts in less than two weeks, but there has been no word from Naomi Osaka regarding her participation. Her prolonged absence from the tour has affected her ranking, with the Japanese dropping out of the top five this week.


Edited by Arvind Sriram
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