Naomi Osaka's grandfather recently spoke to the Japanese daily The Mainichi, where he revealed that the 23-year-old had declared her intention of winning the 2021 Australian Open well before the tournament started. Osaka followed up on her promise as she won her second Australian Open title on Sunday, beating USA's Jennifer Brady comfortably.
Osaka's 76-year-old grandfather Tetsuo Osaka stated that the World No. 3 had told her mother on 1 January - a month before the tournament was scheduled to start - that she was "going to win" the Australian Open. Tetsuo asserted that Osaka's confidence level is always evident from her demeanor, and that she is likely to keep going for higher targets over the next 10 years.
"When you've looked at her for over 10 years, you come to know when she's not in form and when she's speaking with confidence," Tetsuo said. "It's like mountain climbing. She's like an alpinist going after higher mountains, and I think she'll be able to keep going for about 10 years."
Tetsuo also recalled that his granddaughter had told her mother she would win the gold medal at the Olympics this year.
When asked about Naomi Osaka's activism off the court, Tetsuo called his granddaughter a 'good person', while also giving credit to her upbringing and education.
"It might be thanks to her grandfather's good education, or it might be a case of a trait skipping a generation, but she's gotten better at speaking," Tetsuo said. "You've got to be a good person. Just because they're strong, a person shouldn't become arrogant."
During the Japanese interview, Osaka Sr. also said that he was looking forward to Naomi Osaka opening a tennis school for children in Nemuro some day, when things are back to normal.
"I'd like her to open a tennis school for children in Nemuro," Tetsuo said. "To do that, the coronavirus has to end first."
Naomi Osaka says Laureus sees the big picture as she thanks them for nomination
Naomi Osaka was recently nominated for the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year award, in recognition of not just her tennis but also her work in promoting social justice. Osaka was possibly the most influential athlete of 2020, having sat out of a match at the Cincinnati Open to raise awareness about the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
While thanking Laureus for the nomination, Osaka acknowledged how the organization sees the 'big picture' and how the gesture could help youngsters all over the world.
"It's an honour to once again be nominated for a Laureus award by the world's media," Osaka said. "For me, this is special because Laureus sees the big picture, not just sport on the court or the pitch, but how it can help young people around the world."
Naomi Osaka has become a household name in the tennis world, not only in Japan but in the rest of the world as well. The Japanese, who also won the 2019 Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year award, will be competing against Netherlands' Anna Van der Breggen (Cycling), Italy's Federica Brignone (Skiing), Kenya's Brigit Kosgei (Athletics), France's Wende Bernard (Football) and USA's Breanna Stewart (Basketball) for the Sportswoman of the Year award this time.