Naomi Osaka says Japan is her “heart and soul” and that “no one will be prouder” than her to represent the country at this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.
The world tennis number two began the season in spectacular style, winning the Australian Open to claim her fourth Grand Slam title.
Osaka, whose mother is Japanese and father is from Haiti, has spent most of her life in the US, but has been reflecting on her upbringing, Japanese influences and memories in a series for Nikkei Asia.
WTA Seoul
Raducanu beats Uchijima to reach second round in Seoul
21/09/2022 AT 15:16

Naomi Osaka Top 5: Best shots from the champion at the 2021 Australian Open

In the piece, written by herself directly to fans, Osaka talks about her love of the cuisine, fashion and culture, as well as the huge impact her parents have had on her career.
“I give credit equally to all those cultures for shaping me into the person I am today”, she said.
I credit my Japanese side for my discipline, good manners, cleanliness and sense of style. My mom's work ethic, working two jobs a day to support my tennis, has rubbed off on me too.
“My American side has allowed me to be more open-minded and progressive. And my Haitian side has given me the courage to push through when things get tough.
Japan is such an important part of my life and my makeup. I am proud of who I am and no one will be prouder than me when I compete for Japan in the Olympics later this year - hopefully with your full support!
Osaka once again stated that she is reluctant to speak in Japanese in public, as she is concerned her pronunciation will be picked apart, but said she has a full understanding listening to it and still speaks the language to her mum, sister and physio.

'I felt really nervous' - Osaka on first match since Australian Open triumph

She also revealed her passion for karaoke, though admits she is not the best singer, and reading manga.
“I love the food and so many of my favourite restaurants in the world are in Japan”, she said.
“My favourite things to eat are sushi, katsudon (pork cutlets on rice), chirashi don (sushi in a bowl) and yakiniku (barbecued meat).
“(Sister) Mari and I also like to sneak out for karaoke -- though we are not especially good singers! We sing Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Anaconda.
As far as I can remember, our household was an eclectic mix of cultures and influences -- Japanese, Haitian and American.
"We thought it was normal, it was our normal, but on reflection, I guess it's kind of rare. For example, we would eat a lot of Japanese meals prepared by my mom and always with chopsticks.
“We had to take our shoes off at the door and we learned to bow rather than shake hands where appropriate.”
WTA Tokyo
Osaka ends four-match losing streak after Saville retires due to nasty knee injury
20/09/2022 AT 18:08
WTA Tokyo
'More down than up' - Osaka opens up on difficult 2022
19/09/2022 AT 19:31