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Thursday, Nov. 30
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: Naomi Osaka is the highest-paid female athlete, a rising star on and off the court


Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka has proven over the last few years that she is here to stay. At only 23, she has won the US and Australian Open.

Over the course of her career, Osaka has won awards, landed endorsements and even beat tennis legend Serena Williams. According to ESPN, in 2021 alone, Osaka won the ESPY Award for Best Female Tennis Player and Best Female Athlete, BET Award for Sportswoman of the Year and Glamour Award for Sports Gamechanger.  

Forbes ranked Osaka No. 29 over Serena Williams at No. 33 among the 100 highest-paid athletes. Over the last 12 months, she earned $37.4 million in prize money and endorsements. Osaka set an all-time record for a female athlete in a single year by earning $1.4 million more than Williams.

According to Black Enterprise, Osaka has landed endorsement deals and partnerships with 20 brands such as Louis Vuitton, Levi’s, Tag Heuer, Nissan, Beats by Dre, Mastercard and Nike. About 90% of her income stems from these deals, with Nike as her biggest contributor. 

Osaka is not only a young legend to the tennis community but to the world. She is a global phenomenon who has her own Netflix series, sits out of tennis matches for a greater cause and gives back to the community she grew up in.

Her Netflix series “Naomi Osaka” is a documentary about her life and her battles on a day-to-day basis. The documentary shows Osaka handling backlash from the Black community about her tennis losses as well as her mental health struggles.

One of the events the documentary covers is the moment she chose to drop out of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati in protest of police brutality.  

“Before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman,” Osaka said. “And as a Black woman, I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis.”

Osaka returned to Queens, New York, in the documentary where she was raised and learned to play tennis. She refurbished the courts she was trained on with her Bodyarmor endorsement money and played with kids in the community.

“This project came about because of partnering with Bodyarmor, just knowing how we’re both — I’m kind of based in Queens,” Osaka said. “I moved later on, but to know they have such strong roots here and for me, just revisiting here and wanting to build up and do better for the community is very important for both of us.”

All of Osaka’s accomplishments have granted her the ability to be one of the highest-paid athletes. From her wins to her endorsements, Osaka is making a name for herself. 

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