Naomi Osaka already has an impressive list of accomplishments: first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam and the first Asian to ever be world No. 1 come to mind. The two-time Slam champion can add her very own Barbie doll to the list.
Osaka is just one of a few superstars who have become part of the company's "Sheroes" initiative, including Ashley Graham, Laurie Hernandez. Yara Shahidi and model Adwoa Aboah.
"I think it means a lot," Osaka said in Indian Wells. "When I was a kid I was playing with Barbie dolls. It’s a little bit surreal. Having a chance to represent people that might not think they can be represented is a really big goal of mine."
The 21-year-old is donating her Barbie partnership fee to the IOA center, an elementary school that her father helped build in Haiti.
"We are making it bigger, expanding it," Osaka said. "They were considering putting tennis courts, too which would be really cool. I think that it’s really important because, especially in Haiti, there aren’t really that many schools."
Osaka begin her Indian Wells defense against Kristina Mladenovic, who just beat her in Dubai.