Inside the private world of pregnant Naomi Osaka outside the tennis court

in TennisIt is necessary to be able to rush forward, shuffle from side to side and run backwards in a matter of seconds, hence the constant bouncing of players on the field, even when they remain standing.

Naomi Osaka She has that signature quality in her step – and she’s adept at keeping her fans on their toes, too.

Four-time Grand Slam winner, who was dating the rapper hearts Since 2019, she shared on January 11 that she is Pregnant with her first child—which means tennis will be without the mercurial champ for longer than expected.

were the organizers of the tournament announce Just a day before Osaka pulled out of the 2023 Australian Open, extending her nearly five-month absence from the WTA tournament since losing in the first round of the US Open in September, after which injuries curtailed her season.

But let’s just say, she made the most of her time.

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“The past few years have been interesting to say the least, but I find the most challenging times in life can be even more fun,” the 25-year-old wrote on social media in English and Japanese. Sonogram image with its indication. “These few months away from the sport have truly given me a new love and appreciation for the game I have dedicated my life to. I realize that life is too short and I take no moments for granted, each day is a new blessing and adventure.

She concluded, “I know I have a lot to look forward to in the future, the only thing I am looking forward to is for my child to watch one of my matches and say to someone, ‘This is my mom, haha.’” 2023 is going to be a year full of lessons for me and I hope to see you guys Guys at the start of next season because I’ll be in Australia 2024. I love you all infinitely.”

Osaka, outside.

Or maybe back. Recently.

Naomi Osaka, Create and Cultivate

Rob Prang/Shutterstock

Not afraid to share where she is at any given moment, emotionally speaking, Osaka is as famous for her mixed feelings about tennis as she is for the skills that propelled her to No. 1 in the world in 2019. Thanks to her off-court pursuits, she has been Highest earning athlete three consecutive years Even when you don’t win, Forbes By calculating that only $1.1 million of the $51.1 million in 2022 came from prize money.

“It felt necessary, but I was kind of shy in that moment because, as an athlete, you’re kind of asked to be strong and push through everything,” he said. Tell Robin Roberts on me Good morning America last month, as she reflects on her decision to take her struggles to the world in 2021. “But I’ve learned that it’s better to regroup and deal with the feelings you had in that moment, and you can come back stronger.”

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Osaka, her mother Tamaki My dad is Japanese Leonard Haiti, the first to lure critics out of the silence and service crowd when she and Cordy joined protesters in Minneapolis days after the killing of George Floyd in 2020. She later began speaking out about racism and other pressing issues of social justice.

Osaka Tell Vogue magazine In October, “I think I confuse people… I’ve always grown up with a little more Japanese heritage and culture, but I’m black, I live in America, and I personally didn’t think it was too far-fetched when I started talking about things.” That was happening here. There are things going on here that really scare me.”

Or as she said WSJ Journal“I hate it when random people say athletes shouldn’t get involved in politics and just have fun. First, this is a human rights issue. Second, what gives you more right to speak than me? By that logic, if you work at IKEA you’re only allowed to talk about it.” [furniture]? “

When she was fined $15,000 for skipping the press conference in the first round after winning, and later withdrew from the 2021 French Open, she also inadvertently became a beacon for athletes who found themselves torn between business as usual and taking care of their mental health.

Osaka shared on social media She has been battling depression since the 2018 US Open – her first Grand Slam tournament was tough but eventually overshadowed Serena Williamsburst of emotions In the end – and regularly experienced “huge waves of anxiety” before speaking to the media. Therefore, she decided at the French Open that she would rather not.

Naomi Osaka, preparing for the 2021 French Open

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

“For the first time, I did zip-up in my own home and hotel, and that’s never been done before,” she later said Tell Self. “It was a strange feeling and I was shocked that people cared so much.”

She also withdrew from the 2021 Wimbledon Championships the following month, according to her agent, to take some “personal time with friends and family”.

The family includes Tamako, Leonard and her older sister Marie, an artist who also played tennis professionally. (Leonard, inspired by how Venus And Serena’s father Richard Williams engineer their ascentHe was the first teacher of his daughters, hitting balls on public courts on Long Island, New York)

And for nearly four years, personal time has included Corday, since they exchanged numbers in 2019 and met at a Los Angeles Clippers home game on their first date.

Naomi Osaka, Corday

Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

“We were trying on FaceTime to find each other because the arena was so big,” Osaka recalls. GQ in 2021. “And I just remember seeing that there were a lot of people who wanted to take a picture with him. And I thought it was really cool how friendly and welcoming he was with everyone.”

Admittedly, tennis wasn’t Corday’s sport and he wasn’t familiar with Osaka’s line of work – but that changed quickly.

“I let her do her thing,” he said TMZ said With the US Open kicking off in September, her opening round win was the first tennis match he had ever seen. “Just show love, motivate. But she knows what she’s doing.”

in Vogue magazineIn the January 2021 issue, Osaka described herself as “a bit of a loner, but not by choice. I’d like more friends, but I’m not forcing them. I don’t like going to parties, because I’m not a good dancer, and they’re loud and you’re kind of yelling at someone.” I’m not great at small talk. Basically I’m a homebody, and my boyfriend scores all the time, but he’s bigger than me at home.”

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Some would say she is very great at big talk, able to speak and write in depth about topics that interest her, even if she is uncomfortable with what athletes are expected to do the chat required at events.

I wrote in An article about the time that summer. I feel uncomfortable being the spokesperson or the face of athletes’ mental health because it’s still so new to me and I don’t have all the answers. I hope people can relate and understand that it’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to talk about it.”

At the time, Osaka was looking forward to the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics, where she was honored by lighting the cauldron to celebrate the official start of the Games in her home country. (As she shared in her eponymous Netflix documentary, I got a lot of shit from people who didn’t understand why she played Japan, where I was born. “I’m not picking on America,” she recalls, and all of a sudden people are like, “Your black card has been revoked.” And she’s like, The African American isn’t the only black, you know?”)

Osaka The decision to take a step back Of the game she’d devoted almost her entire life to, along with how glamorous she seemed to be everywhere But On a tennis court, like the one on it First ever red carpet at the Met Gala In September 2021 – Tennis pundits were wondering if she would end up calling it a career.

Naomi Osaka, 2021 ESPY Awards, ESPYS

Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

But while the Peanuts Gallery was busy figuring it all out, Osaka was busy re-learning how to enjoy her life. As 2022 rolls around, she begins therapy (“I’m so happy I found the right person who really understands me and has been so helpful,” she said. Tell Self) and focused on her various endeavors off the field, including Play Academy, whose mission is to empower young girls through sports, the Kinl skincare line, and the sports agency development And Production company Hana Kumain partnership with LeBron James‘ spring Hill.

When Corday released his second album, Overviewin January 2022, Osaka I drop a rare generic commentcaptioned a photo of them cuddling on the sofa, “Getting close to someone and seeing how much love and dedication they put into their profession is truly inspiring. It makes you feel like some people are born to do certain things, cordae. You are a star and a light, literally lighting up every room you walk into (or Maybe your hair is a laugh).”


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And Osaka resumed playing tennis, slowly but surely rediscovering her smile on the court even if she never regained the level that once made her dominant.

After her third-round defeat at the 2022 Australian Open, she told reporters she was “having more fun on the court.” However, an outburst heard during her second-round loss at Indian Wells in March threatened to derail her joy, with Osaka comparing the experience to crowd behavior in 2001 that prompted the Williams sisters to boycott the tournament for 14 years.

But a few weeks later, she reached her first final in over a year at the Miami Open, and even though she lost to her friend (and soon-to-be world No. 1) All your sweasShe cried happy tears.

Naomi Osaka, 2022 Miami Open

Michael Reeves/Getty Images

“I had an explosion on court for the first time in a while,” said Osaka. Self Then. “I have a new perspective and I really appreciate having this profession and the platform. I’m also really excited and motivated.”

She thinks about how far she has come since going public with her struggles Tell the people This past April, “The biggest lesson I’ve learned is trying to be in every moment. It’s easy to lose sight of how far you’ve come, but I prioritized trying to live in the moment and enjoy the journey.”

And her spirits stayed high as the year went on, athlete Tweet on July 30th“I went through my old notes from last year… wow, I’m basically a completely different person now,” and On August 4th“I’m really at peace with myself. I never thought I’d ever feel like this, it’s kind of amazing.”

She also injected some of her well-earned wisdom into a children’s book, Heroes gameplayAnd she posts a photo of her puppy, Puta, as she appears to be scanning the brightly decorated pages.

“For me, I remember getting really inspired by the books I grew up with,” Osaka explained to Roberts. GMA Last month, “So hopefully you can pass that feeling on to the next generation is really cool.”

And it turns out the next generation is on its way, ready to point at the tennis court—or bookshelf—and say, “Here’s my mom.”

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