Naomi Osaka, aged 23, has taken home yet another US Open Title.
This is the second time she has won the title, the first being in 2018. However, last year, she won the Australian Open Title. Consequently, she is the first person to win Grand Slam Single titles back-to-back since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.
The tennis player, Japanese-Haitian American, won the match against Victoria Azarenka (former world-number-one title-holder), with the final score being 1-6, 6-3, 6-3. Azarenka came in strong at the beginning, but Osaka quickly caught up and took control.
Regarding the match, Osaka reported, “I didn’t really enjoy that, it was a really tough match. I thought it would be really embarrassing to lose in under an hour so I thought I had to stop having a bad attitude.”
Osaka is an avid social justice activist. In the last few years, she has campaigned relentlessly for the anti-racism movement, calling out police brutality and violence through her social media platforms. This has largely increased her popularity amongst tennis fans.
For the match, Osaka has received around $3 million in endorsement money by her multitude of corporate investors. Her position as Japan’s (and Asia’s) only three-time Open Title winner as well as her social activism has contributed to her large portfolio of investors.
The match began with Osaka walking in, wearing a mask to follow coronavirus protocols. Her masks are part of her social activism. So far, she has worn seven in all of her matches, each with the name of a victim of police brutality. In this US Open Final, her mask stated ‘Tamir Rice’.
Rice was a 12-year-old boy who died in 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was playing with a toy gun in Cudell Recreation Center, a public park when someone reported him. The dispatched officer, Timothy Loehmann, then 26 years old, shot him immediately after arriving on the scene.
When asked about the mask, Osaka stated, “I feel like the point is to start people talking.”