Naomi Osaka is on course to become one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world following a hike in sponsorships coming her way.
On Saturday the 20-year-old became the first Japanese player to win a grand slam title after defeating Serena Williams at the US Open. Since then, Osaka’s popularity in her country of birth and elsewhere has surged. Appearing on the front pages on almost all of Japan’s main national newspapers and receiving a congratulatory message from prime minister Shinzo Abe.
Osaka’s new found frame is also set to earn her millions in the coming years. On Thursday Nissan announced a new three-year deal with the world No.7. Where she will become the newest ambassador for the car manufacturer. Nissan hopes the signing of Osaka will make the brand appeal more to a younger demographic.
“This week has been a dream come to life, and I’m so honoured to represent Japan and Nissan on the world stage,” Osaka at a special event where the deal was announced, according to a Nissan press release.
“The brand is always challenging expectations, and I look forward to bringing its vision for driving excitement to new audiences around the world,” she added.
Under the deal, Osaka will appear in global promotions and advertisements for the company. She will also be provided with vehicles from the company to use when she travels to tournaments around the world.
“With a combination of grit and grace, Naomi Osaka is not afraid to take on the best tennis players of our time, and win,” said Asako Hoshino, senior vice president of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. “This is the same spirit of performance that Nissan has embodied throughout our history – exemplified most recently by the Nissan LEAF, which defied the odds to become the best-selling electric vehicle in the world. And just like Naomi, Nissan is just getting started.”
Osaka is also reportedly in line to score another huge deal later this week. The Times Newspaper has reported that the Japanese player could sign a deal with Adidas worth $8.5 million per year. Should this occur, it would be the biggest deal ever involving a female tennis player. Osaka’s deal with Adidas is likely to be announced in the near future, according to her agent Stuart Duguid.
“I thought she would be an unbelievable player with marketing potential through the roof,” Duguid told The Times.
“We manage Nishikori so we know how strong that market is for endorsements.
“It’s very attractive for us and the blueprint was there.”
Part of the reason behind her massive appeal to the public is due to her heritage. Osaka has a Japanese mother and Haitian father, but has lived in America since the age of three. Making her appealing to a mixture of markets.
Elsewhere, the rising star of the women’s game also has endorsements with the Japanese sporting goods manufacturer, Yonex, food company, Nissin and Wowow.
Amid the hype surrounding Osaka, she is currently in Japan ahead of next week’s Pan Pacific Open. Looking ahead to the rest of the season, the US Open champion is targeting a spot in the year-end finals as well as breaking into the world’s top five.
“I think for this year my immediate goal would be to get to Singapore,” Osaka told reporters.
“I want to do well at the Pan Pacific Open and maybe year-end top five – but I’m not putting pressure on myself. For now I’m just sort of riding the wave.”
Looking further afield, Osaka is also aiming to strike gold in 2020 when the Olympic Games are held in Japan. The country has only ever won three Olympic medals in tennis, but none of them have been by a woman. In the Open Era, Kei Nishikori is the only Japanese player to medal after winning bronze at the 2016 games.
“Of course I’m very excited the Olympics are going to be held in Tokyo,” She said. “It’s every athlete’s dream to play in the Olympics, so of course it would be my goal to win gold.”
Osaka will be seeded third at the Pan Pacific Open, which will begin on Monday.
In-Form Liudmila Samsonova Storms To Tokyo Title
Tokyo is the second tournament this year the Russian has won without dropping a set.
Liudmila Samsonova has continued her rapid surge on the Tour by defeating China’s Qinwen Zheng 7-5, 7-5, to win the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.
The world No.30 dropped serve only once and hit four aces as she edged her way past rising star Zheng who is the first Chinese teenager to reach the final of a Tour-level singles event. Overall, Samsonova won 68% of her service points en route to becoming the first Russian player to win the tournament since Nadia Petrova in 2012.
“It’s amazing, I don’t have too many words right now. I need a little bit of time,” said Samsonova, who beat Grand Slam champions Elena Rybakina and Garbine Muguruza earlier in the draw.
“It was a really tough match. She is playing amazing. It was a nervous match, we were fighting every point. It was tough.”
Samsonova is becoming a formidable force in the women’s game and has now won 18 out of her past 19 matches. Last month she also won titles in Washington and Cleveland before reaching the last 16 of the US Open for the first time in her career at the age of 23. She is now 4-0 in tournament finals and didn’t drop a set in Tokyo this week.
“I played a high level in all my five matches. I am incredibly happy about how I managed it,” she said.
There is also a reason for Zheng to celebrate with her run in Tokyo securing her place in the world’s top 30 for the first time on Monday when the rankings are updated. Making her the first Chinese player to do so as a teenager. She is also only the second teenager to reach the final of a WTA 500 event or higher this season after Coco Gauff at the French Open.
Samsonova will also rise to a ranking high on Monday to just outside the world’s top 20.
Naomi Osaka Seeks Resurgence At Home Event After Rollercoaster Year
Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka admits that there have been more downs than ups for her this year but she is maintaining a positive outlook.
The four-time Grand Slam champion has played 22 matches so far this season with her win-loss record currently standing at 13-9. However, at her six most recent tournaments she has failed to win back-to-back matches and is currently on a four-match losing streak. Osaka also missed this year’s Wimbledon Championships due to an achilles injury.
Currently ranked 44th in the world, Osaka is hoping to break her slump at this week’s Toray Pan Pacific Open which will be held in Tokyo. It will be the first time she has played since losing to Danielle Collins in the first round of the US Open.
“I think, of course, the year has (not been) the best year for me,” Osaka said during her pre-tournament press conference. “But I think overall I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m just happy to be healthy. Because in Europe, I did injure myself, and that was like my first injury that took me that long to get healed.
“I think life is kind of ups and downs and this one was kind of more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”
Osaka is the defending champion in Tokyo, even though she won the tournament back in 2019. The event has been cancelled for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has happened to the Japanese player since she won the title, both on and off the court. Osaka has spoken publicly about her mental health issues and took time away from the sport because of them.
“It feels really weird to hear that I’m the defending champion because it was the last time I played in 2019,” she said. “I would love to win it again, but I think just taking it one match at a time … and also just playing in front of a crowd in Tokyo again, because the Olympics was crowdless, so it will just be nice to see people.”
This year Osaka does not have a seeding in the Tokyo draw which is in stark contrast to three years ago when she was the highest-ranked player in the tournament. She will begin her campaign against Australia’s Daria Saville and could then face fifth seed, Beatriz Haddad Maia, in the last 16.
“I think every year for me since the first Slam, there’s been a lot of changes,” Osaka said. “But I think this year it has definitely been a real growing year for me. I think tennis-wise, I don’t really think I can go in a wrong direction. I feel like me as a player, my base is pretty solid. I can only really learn more about myself. I know that I am an aggressive player and I can only hope to keep doing that.”
Away from the Tour, the 24-year-old remains one of the highest-earning players in the sport. According to a report published by Forbes in August, she earned in the region of £56.2M over 12 months with $55M of that coming from off-court ventures. She has also set up her own sports agency with long-time agent Stuart Duguid, signing Nick Kyrgios as one of her clients.
“For everything off court, I think it’s really cool how tennis has let me get so many opportunities in things that I’m interested in, and it’s something I’m really happy and grateful for and I can only hope it keeps evolving.” She commented.
This week Osaka is seeking to win her first title of any sort since the 2021 Australian Open.
Simona Halep Ends 2022 Season With Nose Surgery And Mental Exhaustion
Simona Halep will return to the court in 2023.
Simona Halep has ended her season after having nose surgery and suffering from mental exhaustion in recent months.
The two-time Grand Slam champion has had a mixed season this year with the Romanian almost quitting the sport in February.
However the former world number one reunited with Patrick Mouratoglou and produced a world-class grass court season and US Hard court swing to get back into the world’s top ten.
Despite this, Halep has also had her troubles having had a panic attack at Roland Garros and struggled with anxiety.
This was all produced by the Romanian in her statement when she announced she would not play the rest of the season due to a nose surgery which has been linked to her breathing.
Now Halep will look to recover mentally and physically in time for January’s Australian Open as she will look to become a Grand Slam champion for the third time in her career.
Simona Halep’s 2022 Season:
Melbourne Summer Set 1: Champion
Australian Open: R4 l. Cornet
Dubai: Semi-Finals l. Ostapenko
Qatar: R1 l. Garcia
Indian Wells: Semi-Finals l. Swiatek
Madrid: Quarter-Finals l. Jabeur
Rome: R2 l. Collins
Roland Garros: R2 l. Q. Zheng
Birmingham: Semi-Finals l. Haddad Maia
Bad Homburg: Semi-Finals l. Andreescu
Wimbledon: Semi-Finals l. Rybakina
Washington: R2 l. Kalinskaya
Cincinnati: R2 – Withdrew
US Open: R1 l. Snigur
Novak Djokovic reaches the semifinal in Tel Aviv
Jannik Sinner reaches his third consecutive semifinal at the Sofia Open
Kei Nishikori Confirms Safety Amid Hurricane Ian, Sets Out End of Year Plans
Casper Ruud and Stefanos Tsitsipas qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin
Yoshihito Nishioka upsets Casper Ruud to reach the semifinal in Seoul
Roger Federer To Make Last-Minute Decision Over Laver Cup Participation, Says Coach
Juan Martin Del Potro Reveals Physical And Mental Trauma From Tennis Retirement
Should Roger Federer Become A Super Coach? Djokovic And Murray Give Their View
Andy Murray Calls For Earlier Start To Davis Cup Ties After Great Britain Loses Late-Night Thriller
US Open 2022: John McEnroe Lashes Out At Journalist In Midst Of Nadal Row
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty ’Satisfied’ With Davis Cup Format Despite Issues
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) ITF President David Haggerty Reacts To Federer’s Retirement
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Elena Rybakina’s Wimbledon Win Was Good But The Level Wasn’t Great
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE): Novak Djokovic Battles Past Norrie, Faces Kyrgios In The Final
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