Naomi Osaka on finding the power of her voice

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Naomi Osaka: A relation exemplary connected the court, and disconnected

Naomi Osaka: A relation exemplary connected the court, and off 07:53

Just ticker her deed a fewer balls and there's nary denying, Naomi Osaka has power. At 24 she's won 4 Grand Slams (the U.S. and Australian Opens, some twice), and past summertime she lit the Olympic cauldron astatine the Tokyo Games, representing her commencement country, Japan.

But for each that superhuman strength, Osaka has besides made a constituent of showing conscionable however quality she truly is. At Wimbledon successful 2019, she told an interviewer, "I consciousness similar I'm astir to cry."

And astatine the 2021 U.S. Open she shared however she struggles with the incredibly nationalist quality of her job, telling a property conference, "I honestly don't cognize erstwhile I'm going to play my adjacent tennis lucifer … I deliberation I'm gonna instrumentality a interruption from playing for a while."

01-00-07-24.jpg Four-time Grand Slam rubric victor Naomi Osaka. CBS News

Osaka told "Sunday Morning," aft she'd conscionable returned from a two-month break, "I cognize immoderate radical are going to think, wherefore did this travel up each of a sudden? But it's not each of a sudden."

Correspondent Tracy Smith asked, "This is simply a elemental question, but possibly it's not truthful simple: Do you similar tennis?"

"Me? Yeah. I mean, I emotion tennis," she replied. "I deliberation I had to instrumentality a small measurement backmost from it conscionable to spot the afloat representation again."

That "step back" started successful 2021, with her determination to propulsion retired of the French Open alternatively than be the required property conferences.

She explained: "You can't truly spot the radical you're talking to. And they're conscionable asking you questions aft questions."

On societal media, Osaka cited her intelligence health: "I person suffered agelong bouts of slump … and one person had a truly hard clip coping with that."

Smith asked, "Your determination with the French Open, evidently it was astir protecting yourself. But were you trying to accidental thing else?"

"Of course, the extremity was to support myself, whether I knew it oregon not," Osaka said. "I've been benignant of watching athletes conflict for a while. And I vividly remember, like, each clip idiosyncratic says thing astir the satellite oregon politics, that you'd beryllium told, like, 'You're conscionable a sports person, blah, blah, blah.'"

"You're an jock and truthful you're not allowed to speech astir issues?"

"Yeah. So then, I benignant of felt like, 'Oh, I consciousness similar we indispensable not beryllium allowed to person feelings, successful a way.' Just, like, benignant of spell retired there, perform, and past spell backmost in. I ever deliberation that my mode of doing things, I privation to marque beingness a spot easier for the radical that travel down me."

It wasn't the archetypal clip the seemingly shy Osaka recovered her voice. In fact, she whitethorn person made her loudest connection by saying thing astatine all. At the 2020 U.S. Open, she decided to marque and deterioration 7 antithetic masks, each with a sanction – a soundless tribute to Black victims of radical injustice.

US-Olympics The Extra Pressure Naomi Osaka wears a protective disguise owed to the COVID-19 microorganism outbreak, featuring the sanction "George Floyd," portion arriving connected tribunal to look Shelby Rogers during the quarterfinal circular of the U.S. Open tennis championships, successful New York City, Sept. 8, 2020. Frank Franklin II/AP

Smith asked, "Did it bash what you wanted it to do?"

"For me, the realization infinitesimal was watching a programme successful Japan on, like, each sanction and each idiosyncratic that I had connected the masks," she replied.

Naomi Osaka was calved successful Osaka, Japan, to a Japanese mother, Tamaki, and Haitian father, Leonard.

The household moved to New York erstwhile Naomi was three, and Leonard started teaching Naomi and her sister, Mari, tennis, modeling their grooming aft 2 different sisters, Venus and Serena Williams. Mari besides played professionally for a while, but retired. Naomi stayed with it.

"I came from a ma that worked for fundamentally my full puerility to enactment maine done tennis," Osaka told Smith. "My dad, who was with maine the full time. And I knew that they had a truly hard time, you know?

"Tennis is an costly sport. So, conscionable to enactment 2 kids done that and just, I guess, judge successful them truthful overmuch is thing that – I ever telephone my parents a spot crazy. Because that's decidedly a dream. But I deliberation they completed that, and I americium wherever I wanted to beryllium arsenic a kid."

The imagination came existent reasonably quickly. At property 20, Osaka won her archetypal Grand Slam, defeating her idol, Serena Williams, astatine the 2018 U.S. Open.

2018 US Open - Day 13 Naomi Osaka aft winning the Women's Singles finals lucifer alongside runner-up Serena Williams, astatine the 2018 U.S. Open, astatine the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center connected September 8, 2018 successful Queens, N.Y. Julian Finney/Getty Images

And Osaka kept winning. Just 3 years aboriginal she'd go the highest-paid pistillate jock successful the world, ever, endorsing everything from sneakers to salads.

When she withdrew from the French Open past year, not a azygous sponsor withdrew their support. And chap athletes praised her for opening up a much-needed treatment astir intelligence health. 

Smith said, "Michael Phelps said – and I'm definite he's not the lone 1 – that you astir apt saved a beingness doing what you did."

naomi-osaka-interview-1920.jpg Naomi Osaka.  CBS News

"At the clip that that happened, I was truly sad," Osaka said. "And honestly, I was a spot embarrassed, 'cause I've ne'er received, like, media attraction similar that before. And I didn't truly cognize however to header with it.

"I don't know, I was benignant of hiding wrong my location for, like, 2 weeks. But erstwhile I came retired to, like, spell to the market store oregon something, determination was a pistillate that came up to me. And she was saying however her lad deals with anxiousness and worldly and I truly helped him retired a lot.

"And I deliberation that was a infinitesimal that I realized, like, 'Oh … I mightiness person actually, like, helped someone.;' And adjacent though I was a spot scared, I was blessed with the prime that I made."

And now, she has a caller venture: aft Osaka learned that radical of colour who get tegument crab person a higher mortality rate, she started a skincare enactment with sunscreen successful it called Kinlò. She said, "When I was little, I didn't enactment connected sunscreen astatine all. Because I felt similar I didn't request it, you know? … Growing up, determination was ever this happening of, like, 'Your melanin volition support you.'"

Early this year, portion her concern was taking off, Osaka struggled successful matches. But astatine a tourney successful Miami successful March she made it to the finals. She told the crowd, "This is 1 of the funnest times of my life. So, I'm truly grateful. I wanna accidental convey you everyone."

2022 Miami Open - Day 11 Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a forehand against Belinda Bencic of Switzerland successful the semi-finals of the women's singles astatine the Miami Open, astatine Hard Rock Stadium, March 31, 2022 successful Miami Gardens, Florida. TPN/Getty Images

It seems she does like tennis. But much than that, Naomi Osaka has recovered existent occurrence isn't ever measured with a scoreboard.

"I honestly ne'er genuinely had a twelvemonth similar this," she said. "So, I'm grateful for it. I deliberation it made maine a batch stronger and a batch much grateful, you know? There's truthful galore different things going connected successful the satellite close now. And I deliberation that it conscionable made maine astatine bid with myself."

For much info:

naomiosaka.comKinlò Sun Care by Naomi

Story produced by Sari Aviv. Editor: Remington Korper. 

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