Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has revealed that she doesn’t see herself as the face of women’s tennis.
The current World Number 3 not only clinched her third Grand Slam title last season but also named by Forbes as the top-earning female athlete in 2020.
Naomi Osaka says as long as Serena’s around she’s the most sought-after
Her earnings from prize money and endorsements last year helped her vault past 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and former Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova in terms of money made in a calendar year.
However, despite big brands lining up to have her sign on the dotted line, Osaka said she doesn’t believe that she is most sought after in women’s tennis right now.
The reigning US Open champion told WTA Insider that the mantle is still with Serena, the one who inspired her father to put her into tennis.
Osaka said she considers herself to be just one of “so many interesting new people” in the women’s game.
In a big shout-out for the 39-year-old American, Osaka said that no other player can stake claim to the title of being the face of women’s tennis as long as Serena is around.
“As long as Serena’s here, I think she is the face of women’s tennis,” the Japanese said.
Though known to be measured with words, Osaka has never shied away from expressing her admiration for the veteran American.
Serena Williams and Osaka were pictured exchanging smiles at Adelaide exhibition event
In a recent interview to Vogue magazine, the Japanese said that Serena is the reason why she is in the game and often struggles to find speech in her presence.
Even in her most recent Twitter post, Osaka shared two pictures with Serena – one of her first meeting with the American and the other of her latest, at the exhibition ‘Day at the Drive’ event in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open.
The two stars were pictured exchanging smiles between points during the exhibition tie in Adelaide and even caught up on the sidelines after the match.
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However, the camaraderie apart, Serena and Osaka are two of the fiercest rivals in the women’s game and are tied at 2-2 in head-to-head battles.