July 16, 2021 | 4:52pm
What a racket.
Naomi Osaka nods to her larger-than-life tennis career on the cover of Hong Kong Tokyo’s July 2021 digital issue, clad in an appropriately athletic-themed outfit by David Koma.
In addition to a white bustier bodysuit and matching oversized mesh blouse, the 23-year-old sports a pair of sparkling oversized earrings shaped like tennis rackets, with her braided hair pulled back into a mohawk-like updo.
Osaka posed for the photoshoot ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she is set to represent Japan.
“Tennis is a solo sport, you cannot rely on a teammate when you’re having an off day. It’s about trusting yourself and the work you put in prior to the match,” she told Vogue Hong Kong.
Continued Osaka, “You may lose more than you win, be told ‘no’ more than ‘yes’. But if you stay the path and put in the work you can be the best version of [yourself].”
The two-time Grand Slam winner may be the world’s highest-paid female athlete, but she’s been open about her struggles with being in the public eye.
“It isn’t easy having so many eyeballs on you,” Osaka said. “Each with an opinion about who they think you are without knowing you first. I try to surround myself with people that know me best. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is your own and [that of] the people close to you.”
In June, Osaka withdrew from the French Open after refusing to participate in interviews, citing bouts with anxiety and depression. She will address her mental health battles in her Netflix documentary “Naomi Osaka,” which premieres on July 16.
“For so long I’ve tied winning to, like, my worth as a person,” she says in the limited series. “To anyone that would know me, they know me for being a tennis player. So what am I if I’m not a good tennis player?”