Four Things To Know About Haitian-Japanese Tennis Player Naomi Osaka Who Is Making Her Mark At The Australian Open

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Paula Rogo Jan, 20, 2018

Tennis player Naomi Osaka just won over a slew of new fans Saturday following her endearing post-march interview  at the Australian Open.

“I feel really happy, but also kind of sorry because I know you guys really wanted her to win,” she told the Australian audience after beating native favorite Ashleigh Barty. “So thank you very much because I’ve never played in an atmosphere like this. I’ve always wanted to play against an Australian player, because on TV it seems really cool. So thank you.”

The 20-year-old, who is representing Japan in the tournament, was equal parts humble, and charming —a winning combination for the rising star. Here are four things to know about her:

She Reps Japan, Haiti And The U.S.
Osaka maybe representing Japan at the tournament –and holds dual citizenship with the U.S. — but she is also a proud Haitian. Born to a Haitian father and Japanese mother in Osaka, Japan, she now calls Florida home.

“I can understand way more Japanese than I can speak,” she told USA TODAY. “And when I go to Japan people are confused. From my name, they don’t expect to see a black girl.” 

And when asked about her Japanese and American background at the Australian Open, she made sure to remind everyone that she was also Haitian: “Of course, I am really honored to be playing for Japan. And my dad’s side is Haitian. So…represent!”

She Has A Powerful Serve
Currently ranked 72nd in the world, Osaka went pro in 2013. Since then, many have been watching her powerful serve. She clocked a 125 mph serve at the 2016 U.S. Open, a speed that only eight women ever have achieved, according to USA Today.

Her Doubles Partner Is Her Older Sister
Osaka grew up playing tennis alongside her older sister, Mari, who also plays professional tennis. The duo have competed together as doubles partners, which of course, bring up comparisons to Venus and Serena Williams.


Serena Williams Has Recognized Osaka’s Talent
Serena Williams, who is idolized by Osaka, took note of the now 20-year-old during the Australian Open two years ago.:

“I have seen her play. She’s really young and really aggressive. She’s a really good, talented player. Very dangerous.”

We will continue to root for her at the Australian Open!