20-year-old Naomi Osaka took the world by storm Saturday when she defeated 23-time Grand Slam Winner and one of the world’s greatest athlete Serena Williams.
She went on to win her second tournament title, a Grand Slam!
Every victory doesn’t come without its lessons and Naomi has lots of them:
1. Always represent: Naomi is of mixed heritage and has once been described as a Haitan-American-Japanese but she always represents all sides of her family. Once when a reporter tried to sideline her as just an Haitian player, she mentioned as a matter of fact her Japanese heritage. She is now recognized as the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam because she is a registered member of the Japanese Tennis Association but we all know she is also the first Haitian player to win a Grand Slam title too.
2. Identity issues: Naomi and her elder sister Mari use their mother’s surname Osaka. Her wiki page says it’s because they were born and spent their early childhood in Osaka, Japan and it was the practical thing to do but Naomi takes pride in her mother’s surname. Naomi has also said that people are surprised when they hear her name and they see a black girl.
3. Always have positive role models: Role models have a way of influencing and inspiring us. Naomi couldn’t have chosen a better one than Serena Williams. Serena and her sister Venus are an inspiration to Naomi and her sister Mari.
When Naomi was announced as the winner the Pro-Serena audience booed her but Serena stood up for her.
“She played well… This is her first Grand Slam. I know you guys were here rooting, but let’s make this the best moment we can. Let’s give everyone the credit where credit is due. Let’s not boo any more. Congratulations Naomi.”
Serena also went on to say that Naomi played ‘amazing’.
4. Keep Your Cool: Even though Serena was flustered and went through a range of emotions, Naomi kept her cool which was one of the reasons why she beat Serena. She didn’t let what Serena was going through rile her, she was calm and focused and it paid of for her.
5. Be Humble: Even though this wasn’t the first time Naomi had played or defeated Serena the way she went about showed how surprised and happy and humbled she was when she beat her idol. She could have bragged about it and dragged Serena about her behavior but she didn’t.
“I don’t know what happened on the court. So for me, I’m always going to remember the Serena that I love. It doesn’t change anything for me. She was really nice to me, like, at the net and on the podium. I don’t really see what would change.” she said on her encounter.