Naomi Osaka has already achieved so much in her young, yet glimmering career. The Japanese star has officially taken 23 trips around the sun and has much to celebrate on her special day.
Although it's been a saddening year with COVID-19 interrupting many of our usual routines, Osaka managed to still make the most of her time and it showed when she reached the final rounds in the only two tournaments she competed in following the tour re-opening.
"And nothing changed but the age. Grateful to hit 23 , excited for new adventures," Osaka wrote on Instagram.
At last month's US Open final, she defeated Victoria Azarenka after fighting her way back from a set and a break down. With a 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 win, she is now a perfect 9-0 once she reaches the last eight on the major stage.
But Osaka wasn't only fighting to capture her second US Open title, she was also fighting for the numerous Black men and women who have suffered and have been killed at the hands of the police. Before each match, Osaka wore a face mask revealing a name of a different Black person who has been killed by the police.
This was a moment. Sorry for posting another pic but I just want to thank my team. Reflecting on it we really won a slam during a pandemic!!! So much love to for everyone because during the quarantine we were really grinding it out and I’m literally just the result of everyone’s hard work coming together + we’re all striving towards the same goals. They’re the ones that see everything that goes on behind the scenes, (good and bad) so it really means a lot to win this one after what happened at the start of the year. Also thanks to everyone that wasn’t there but called me and helped me feel less lonely haha. Also also s/o to everyone watching from home. Thank you guys, love you ❤️
The goal was to wear all seven masks and she was able to do just that, which captured world-wide attention and sparked conversations. Osaka wanted to get the world talking and thinking more about the current injustices people of color have endured all while focusing on winning tennis matches.
Osaka has grown up immensely right before our eyes, and at 23-years-old she has twice been named on TIME's 100 list of Most Influential People, but this year was her first time she fell under the Icons category.
The three-time major champion didn't compete on the terre battue in Paris earlier this month due to a lingering left hamstring injury. However, she's been resting and recovering on the beautiful beaches in Haiti and the birthday shoutouts are pouring in.
The 23-year-old is already a champion on and off the court and surely this is only the beginning.
Osaka jumped six ranking spots after claiming her third Grand Slam title and sits at world No. 3. She also was the highest paid women's athlete in 2019, claiming $37.4 million