Will Naomi Osaka be in the Olympics?
The lack of spectators will not affect Naomi Osaka or the other tennis stars taking part at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, says Pat Cash. AS EnglishNo fans at Tokyo Olympics is unfortunate but not unusual, says Pat Cash
19 July, 2021 - 11:10pm
After her defeat of Williams, Osaka became consumed with forging a champion’s mentality, which she found difficult because of her concerns that she wasn’t good enough or doing enough. “I’m losing because I’m mentally weak,” she says in one tearful scene comparing herself to her mentor, Kobe Bryant.
Yet for a little over an hour, Osaka is fully steeped in the full range of human emotion that athletes must manage and at times suppress to do their jobs. Naomi Osaka is raw, it is unrelenting in its sadness, and it is purposefully uncomfortable to watch. For these reasons, it is a necessary thing to watch.
In the final minutes of Naomi Osaka, there is a piece of footage from the 2020 US Open that perfectly sums up the point of the entire docuseries. Osaka is standing in front of a microphone as a reporter asks her what message she was trying to send by wearing the names of murdered Black Americans on her face masks throughout the tournament. In the serene manner she answers all questions, Osaka replies, “Well, what was the message you got?”
19 July, 2021 - 11:10pm
It all started when conservative radio host Clay Travis tweeted, “Since saying she’s too introverted to talk to the media after tennis matches, Naomi Osaka has launched a reality show, a Barbie, and now is on the cover of the SI swimsuit issue.”
Kelly weighed in next, writing, “Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!”
Osaka — who has been speaking out about her mental health struggles recently and withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon after saying she did not want to speak to press because it made her anxious — replied to the former Fox News and NBC News host with her own tweet.
“Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year. Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan [sic],” she wrote.
Kelly recently signed a deal to bring her eponymous podcast over to SiriusXM, where she’ll host two hours a day, and has been racking up controversial headlines in the weeks since. Last week, she said the media over-hyped the Capitol riot that left five dead in early January.
Read original story Naomi Osaka Hits Back at Megyn Kelly Over Pre-Olympic Media Blitz: ‘Do Better’ At TheWrap
Osaka is joined by Megan Thee Stallion, the first rapper to be featured, and Leyna Bloom, the first transgender cover star.
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19 July, 2021 - 11:10pm
Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka hit back at Megyn Kelly's criticism of her new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover on Monday -- before deciding to simply straight up block the conservative host on Twitter instead.
The social media rally went down after fellow conservative and Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis first reacted to Osaka's cover by basically calling her a hypocrite. "Since saying she's too introverted to talk to the media after tennis matches, Naomi Osaka has launched a reality show, a Barbie, and now is on the cover of the SI swimsuit issue," tweeted Travis, referring to Osaka's self-titled Netflix series.
Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.
Earlier this year, the 23-year-old pro announced she wouldn't participate in mandatory press during the 2021 French Open and was fined for refusing to hold a press conference after her first match. She eventually withdrew from the competition entirely, revealing in her withdrawal announcement that she's "suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018," called herself an introvert and said she gets "huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world's media."
Osaka also withdrew from Wimbledon last month, with her agent saying she would be "taking some personal time with friends and family" but would be "ready for the Olympics" in Tokyo -- where she'll represent Japan.
Megyn Kelly retweeted Travis' initial post on Monday and piled on by adding, "Let's not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!" -- a sentiment which caught Osaka's attention.
Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.
In a since-deleted post, Osaka retweeted Kelly and wrote, "Seeing as you're a journalist I would've assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would've found out I shot all of my covers last year." She then added, "do better Megan [sic]."
Osaka eventually deleted the message and apparently went on to block Kelly altogether. Megyn shared a screenshot of the alleged blocking to her own page, adding, "Poor @naomiosaka blocked me while taking a shot at me (guess she's only tough on the courts). She is apparently arguing that she shot her many covers b/4 publicly claiming she was too socially anxious to deal w/press. Truth is she just doesn't like Qs she can’t control. Admit it."
Kelly wasn't the only one Osaka cleansed from her timeline. Piers Morgan retweeted Megyn's post and claimed, "Yep, and she just blocked me too. The only media Ms Osaka wants to tolerate are sycophantic magazine editors telling her how perfect she is."
Fellow tennis great Martina Navratilova had Osaka's back though, reposting Megyn's post about the block and adding, "Asshole much, Megyn?!? You have no idea what you are talking about. But go ahead - take your shot. It missed badly!!!"
Kelly, for her part, responded to Navratilova's tweet by criticizing Martina reacting to George Floyd's murder by tweeting "Time to riot everywhere!!!!"
After some backlash at the time, Navratilova deleted the tweet -- but later defended her choice of words. "To all those who have an issue with me calling for riots everywhere - please look up the many definitions of riot," she wrote. "This is not a call to any violence whatsoever - for example this a definition of riot 'an unbridled outbreak, as of emotions, passions, etc.' So simmer down!!"
19 July, 2021 - 02:12pm
While addressing the critics who have claimed her “Black card is revoked," Osaka said, “African American isn't the only Black, you know? I don't know, I feel like people really don't know the difference between nationality and race because there's a lot of Black people in Brazil, but they're Brazilian."
In an interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK in 2019, Osaka said she had a “special desire” to represent Japan at the Olympic Games: “I think that playing with the pride of the country will make me feel more emotional."
Osaka gave up her U.S. citizenship to compete for Japan at the Olympics.
“We made the decision that Naomi would represent Japan at an early age," Tamaki, Osaka’s mother, told The Wall Street Journal in 2018. She explained that Osaka and her sister, Mari, have strong cultural ties to Japan and “have always felt Japanese.”
“It was never even a secret that I'm going to play for Japan for the Olympics," Osaka said.
In her essay, Osaka said she is excited to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.
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19 July, 2021 - 11:45am
Naomi Osaka has been breaking records and making headlines all over the world because of her undeniable sporting talent. At the age of just 23, the tennis star is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion who achieved all four titles in consecutive years from 2018 to 2021.
The star has also made huge strides in the sporting industry as she has opened up about her own mental health during competitions. Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open to focus on ‘wellbeing’ as she opened up about suffering from anxiety when taking part in press conferences after matches.
With all this success at such a young age, it is no surprise that Naomi has become a figurehead for sporting success and was crowned the highest-paid female athlete of all time in 2020.
Naomi Osaka's net worth was estimated in 2020 to be around $25 million. However, Naomi has made some serious cash since this figure was released.
Naomi's overall earnings for 2020—the year that allowed her to break records as the most well-paid female athlete per annum—was $37.4 Million.
In 2020, Naomi only won $3.4 million on the court, meaning that $34 Million of her earnings came from brand endorsements.
And the star's earning capacity doesn't stop there, Naomi has already earned $60 Million in 2021!
Naomi is Number 12 on Forbes' list of the highest-paid athletes of 2021. The star tied with Tiger Woods, who also earned $60 million in total earnings in 2021.
Again, proving her popularity as a sporting legend, of this $60 Million, $55 million came from endorsements.
For the last two years, Naomi has been dating Cordae Amari Dunston. Cordae is a famous rapper who was also previously known as YBN Cordae.
Cordae's debut studio album, The Lost Boy, was released in 2019 and received two nominations at the 62nd Grammy Awards in 2020. One nomination was for Best Rap Album, and another for Best Rap Song, for his single 'Bad Idea.'
The American rapper is also 23 years old and can often be seen supporting his girlfriend from the stands at her matches.
Naomi, like many other successful tennis players, is on the tall side. The tennis champion is 5ft, 11— or around 180cm.
Naomi is only 23 years old. At just 20, Naomi won her first grand slam championship in 2018 when she faced Serena Williams in the women’s finals and won in a staggering defeat.
Naomi had been playing tennis since she was 3 years old and first made a name for herself at the age of just 16 at the 2014 Stanford Classic, when she beat the US Open champion, Samantha Stosur, in her WTA Tour debut.
Adding to Naomi's success, a new documentary called Naomi Osaka has just been released on Netflix. The series looks at Naomi's career and her struggles with self doubt and anxiety.
The three episodes explore Naomi's life in great detail and have already been praised by fans for the brutal honesty and captivating subject matter throughout.
18 July, 2021 - 11:00pm
Naomi Osaka, the three-part Garrett Bradley-directed docuseries recently released on Netflix, should offer a compelling study. After all, its subject is a four-time Grand Slam champion, a lock for the Hall of Fame, currently the second-highest ranking woman, and poised this month to challenge for Olympic Gold in her native Japan. Osaka is also a charismatic, intriguing public figure who has embraced her mixed heritage (born in Japan and raised in the U.S. to parents of Japanese and Haitian origin), stood at the center of controversy, developed a voice for racial justice, and made as many headlines recently for electing not to play as for holding trophies.
Coming off the elegant, elegiac, and Oscar-nominated documentary Time, director Garrett Bradley would seem well poised to capture the nuance of the enigmatic Osaka, who will at times wear her expressionless reticence as a mask. And the docuseries, though no longer than a feature, provides some candid insights and revealing moments. But oddly, Bradley largely ignores the controversies of the 2018 US Open Final, glosses over some of the thornier aspects of being an outspoken female athlete, and concludes without any attention to Osaka’s recent decisions to forego competing in either the 2021 French Open or Wimbledon championships.
Deciding where to begin and when to conclude is always a challenge for the documentarian. Considerations of contracts and access can often trump narrative priorities. For the period it covers, roughly from the 2018 to the 2020 US Opens, Bradley provides plenty of intimate, fly-on-the-wall moments between Osaka, her coach(es), parents, trainer, and friends. But Osaka’s expressionlessness and reticence work against the goals of the documentary. A subject who prefers headphones to conversation and distance to exuberance makes for a challenge, and only really in the third episode does Osaka herself open up.
To get there, though, will require some patience. Bradley opens the series with a few minutes of charming childhood home video of Osaka and her sister dutifully playing before cutting to the 2018 US Open Final, Osaka’s first major championship. One need not be a historian of the sport to recall its controversies when Osaka’s opponent Serena Williams was penalized a game and the crowd erupted in boos that lasted through the trophy ceremony.
Williams’ celebrity and accomplishment, combined with her contentious history at the event and the crowd’s general lack of understanding of tennis’ clearly defined penalty system, made for a harrowing experience for the much-younger Osaka. Social media was ablaze with accusations of racism and sexism against the sport’s officiating for weeks. And largely overlooked was the simple fact that Osaka, with her strong serving and impeccable ground game, had simply outplayed Williams, routing her in fact, throughout the match, well earning her first Grand Slam trophy.
The moment clearly impacted a shaken Osaka profoundly. To play so perfectly yet showered with boos? To judge from Bradley’s presentation of the event, though, there was no controversy—no point penalties, no furor, no emotion, no trauma. At a moment when Osaka became the first Japanese woman to hold a Grand Slam trophy, she would recall in the press that “it wasn’t necessarily the happiest memory.” The episode presents the victory but none of the attendant controversy or apparent trauma.
More recently, those obligatory and sometimes insensitive press conferences have caused Osaka to forego contesting either the 2021 French Open or Wimbledon events. Following a terse exchange between herself and officials, Osaka announced she would rather forego competing than endure the post-match press sessions required by the events. Her decision was nearly unprecedented in the sport’s history. Rarely has a major champion elected voluntarily not to compete in protest. Nothing in Bradley’s docuseries explicitly addresses this growing conflict between Osaka’s mental wellness and the traditional demands of the sport, though. We see a few awkward moments with the press, a glimpse or two of candor, and a brief indication of the challenges of taking a public stance on racial justice.
As the series progresses, there’s a bit more insight on Osaka’s developing rivalry with the younger Coco Gauff, her grieving the loss of mentor Kobe Bryant, and her joining the worldwide Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Unlike in team sports where each athlete has the benefit of others’ wisdom, experience, and support at the ready, a tennis player takes on these challenges largely on her own. For Osaka to do so at her young age—and at some risk of rebuke—is commendable. The tour needs for its players to lead on matters both intrinsic and extrinsic to the game, and Osaka has the championship credentials and social conscience to become a true leader in the years to come.
Aside from the series’ reticence on the on-court controversies and mental health challenges Osaka has faced, Bradley makes a few other curious aesthetic choices. The color correction here may have you searching your television’s menus to see what’s wrong with your settings. Nearly the whole film looks muted down to a subdued, washed-out palette devoid of contrast or saturation. Even network broadcast footage is corrected this way. I’m not sure what the intent was, but the result is strange for a sport where athletes take the court in fluorescent neon fuchsia and chartreuse. The musical score by Devonté Hynes and Theodosia Roussos throbs and pulses for most of the series’ 110 minutes but only occasionally lends impact to the images onscreen.
The sound design includes some faux effects that may go unnoticed by most but that will surely vex knowledgeable fans. In a montage of points from the 2020 Australian Open rematch with Gauff, an umpire yells “Out!” when Osaka nets the ball. That’s just not how tennis works. These post-production concerns may be small matters, granted. It’s hardly the equivalent of Katie Couric’s having editing in an awkward silence or Morgan Neville’s using Artificial Intelligence to recreate Anthony Bourdain’s voice. But it had me wondering.
For instance, in one scene Osaka is riding in car, listening to headphones, as the audio broadcasts news reports of Bryant’s death. Osaka betrays no visible response whatsoever to the news. Did she hear that news, then, and was there no response? The following scene is of her grieving Bryant, who died just two days after Osaka’s surprise loss to Gauff. Alone on the street, her heartfelt response is touching. Was that, indeed, the moment she learned of the tragedy? Or a simple edit of convenience for narrative expedience?
In part because the series depends a great deal on archival footage to provide basic exposition, and in part because there is so little direct-camera address—only a little from Osaka’s team and less from the subject herself—that the edit has to stitch together content from multiple sources. I find myself wishing for a little more of Osaka herself, simply opening up to Bradley’s camera directly. Naomi Osaka doesn’t provide nearly as much Naomi Osaka as some will want.
Osaka tweeted as the series was released that the film was “in some ways my soul and a reflection of who I am” but also that she was “terrified of this being released.” In a nutshell, that comment summarizes the enigma of Naomi Osaka: a reticent celebrity both eager and terrified to bare her soul to the public. Osaka seems poised at a precipice in her career, capable of contending for any Grand Slam she competes, but at the same time willing to forego competition for the sake of principle. Whether she can find a way to manage her mental wellness while staying at the top of her game and fulfilling the sport’s challenging press obligations is anyone’s guess.
The Netflix docuseries isn’t quite the perfect match of talent between filmmaker Garrett Bradley and subject Naomi Osaka it might have been had it dug a bit deeper at the biggest challenges of the tennis champ’s young career. At most, it’s a partial look at the life of an enigmatic champion. But both Bradley and Osaka have already accomplished much and are poised for more. Let’s hope that the near future features Osaka on court, healthy and well, competing for and defending her crowns, and Bradley back in form with the kind of Oscar-nominated filmmaking she’s proven she can make. In the meantime, Bradley’s Naomi Osaka will satisfy the star’s fanbase if not widen her appeal.
J Paul Johnson is a retired professor emeritus of film studies and avid cinephile, collector, and curator whose interests range from classical Hollywood melodrama and genre films to world and independent cinemas and documentary.
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18 July, 2021 - 12:00am
We're going to spend the next few minutes focusing on two countries that have experienced significant protests and serious unrest over the past week. We're talking about South Africa and Cuba. We're hoping to understand the factors that brought each country to this moment. And we're going to begin with Cuba.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Patria y vida. Patria y vida. Patria y vida.
MARTIN: A week ago, protesters took to the streets of Havana and elsewhere in Cuba, chanting patria y vida, meaning motherland and life. These were the largest protests in Cuba in decades, and many demonstrators were arrested. Lillian Guerra is a professor of Cuban history at the University of Florida and has written four books on the country's history. So we asked her for her take on what's happening and why, and she's with us now.
Professor Guerra, thanks so much for being with us.
LILLIAN GUERRA: Thank you so much for inviting me.
MARTIN: So I understand that the immediate spark for these demonstrations in Havana and elsewhere in Cuba were food shortages and high prices. And I understand that you feel that there's much more to this moment than that. But first, I did want to ask, why are there food shortages and high prices right now?
GUERRA: Well, unlike what the Cuban government would say, it's not the embargo. It has a lot to do with the fact that the state says it has no resources. And yet it's investing and has been investing those resources in building and continuing to build hotels and tourist facilities with its own money. Cubans are fed up with that. They are sick and tired of seeing small street vendors pay more in taxes and put up with more harassment than your average foreigner, who is an investor on the island, might own a hotel. So, you know, I think that there is much to the story that is not just about the gross national product dropping 11% in the past year.
MARTIN: So the protests have been described as rare, even unprecedented. Do you agree with that? And what is so unusual about this moment right now, in your opinion?
GUERRA: Yes. Well, they are completely unprecedented. Not only have they taken place in more than 50 towns and cities, but all the kinds of rallies and demonstrations that we've seen for the last 62 years, with just a few exceptions, those rallies have been orchestrated by the state. I mean, really since 1960, the state has provided the bussing, the script, the enforcement and the repercussions and consequences to those who didn't participate in rallies. But these were government rallies. So what we have been seeing for this week is something just unheard of. It's not only illegal, but it is a demonstration of the degree to which Cubans have reached a kind of consensus about the nature of their regime, the nature of the government and the lack of democracy and the lack of accountability.
MARTIN: What is it you think emboldened people now, given that, as you just told us, protests that aren't organized by the government are actually illegal? Hundreds of dissidents have been detained or arrested in recent years. So what is it that you think emboldened people in such numbers to take to the streets now?
GUERRA: Well, first, a set of examples. In November of 2020, you had more than 300 artists who staged hours-long sit-ins in front of the Ministry of Culture, demanding the right to negotiate their own terms for the sale and distribution of their work. And that included intellectuals, artists, filmmakers, musicians. That was followed by another extraordinary example of, you know, major musicians in the rap and hip-hop scene making a joint, free video called "Patria Y Vida"...
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PATRIA Y VIDA")
GUERRA: ...Which has been the slogan of these protests. That video came out on YouTube in February of 2021. And within four weeks, 5 million people on the island - that's half the population - had seen it.
So these also, I think, have to be taken into the context of Cubans having had a taste of much greater freedom in the last two years of the Obama administration. Those policies made it possible for Cubans on the island to pursue a number of businesses with Americans, with Cuban exiles, to share in profits. So these kinds of openings were terrifying to the Cuban state. And as early as January of 2017, Raul Castro, who was the former head of the army, president of the country, he effectively began to roll them back.
MARTIN: I did want to ask you about that back and forth over the U.S. economic sanctions against Cuba. President Obama's push for an opening to Cuba called for an easing of some sanctions. And then the Trump administration tightened them again. And now President Biden is under pressure from some to reverse course again. What would you like to see the Biden administration do?
GUERRA: Well, I would like to see the Biden administration effectively reinstitute the openings to the embargo that Cuban citizens had been able to exploit to their own maximum reward. And by that, I mean, I'm 100% in favor of a greater free flow of ideas and travelers to Cuba. I think that we can reestablish the ability of Americans to send money to Cubans so that they can use that money for their own businesses in the private sector. We need to do something that is unexpected and it shows our friendship with the Cuban people and that will ultimately help them undermine the nature of this state.
MARTIN: I understand that there have been calls from some in the Cuban exile community to send in the U.S. military to Cuba. I don't see that there's any inclination on the part of the administration to do that. But how widespread a sentiment is that among the exile community? And as somebody who's written extensively about the history of U.S. intervention and occupation in Cuba, what are your thoughts about that?
GUERRA: Well, yes. I mean, it is a growing rallying cry. It has, you know, unfortunately been echoed through the halls of certain government entities in South Florida, including the mayor's office. Mayor Suarez of Miami was one of the first to endorse this. I mean, this kind of stuff is insane. First, it's insane because the United States has a very long history of relying on military occupations and political interventions in Cuba as well as Latin America that span, you know, most of the 20th century. And returning to what is, you know, an imperial policy of imposing authority through military means is going to also be catastrophic for the protesters. That will allow for the Cuban state to repress them in unheard of ways.
You know, we have also proven ourselves wrong again and again in Latin America, in particular, when we have tried to impose U.S. interests or just - even United States presence in a situation at - that is on the verge of its own democratization process. We need to let that democratization process ride itself out. And the consequences, I think, will be very positive.
MARTIN: That was Lillian Guerra. She's a professor of Cuban history at the University of Florida. Professor Guerra, thank you so much for being with us.
GUERRA: Thank you so much. And thank you for covering this. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.