WORLD tennis champion Naomi Osaka has received an honour for raising awareness on mental health and social injustice at the Women’s Sports Foundation.
This comes after the sports star took a break from playing tennis after her US Open loss to focus on her mental health.
The tennis world has watched Naomi Osaka blossom into the woman she is today.
The past couple of years she has grown into a fearless individual who isn’t afraid to speak up and be the voice of change far past the lines of a tennis courts.
Leading the conversation when it comes to social justice and mental health, she recently was awarded the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award by the Women’s Sports Foundation.
Each year the foundation takes the time to recognize women who are making an impact both on and off the court or field using their respective platforms to push for a variety of causes.
Upon receiving the award, Osaka opened up about how she was inspired by the people around her and their ability to use create change with their voices.
“I got the courage to speak out, growing up and seeing all the people around me doing amazing things and not having any fear and standing up for what they believe in,” Osaka told press.
It all began last season when Osaka put her racquets down and refused to compete at Cincinnati’s WTA 1000 event to protest against police brutality. Her bold action saw the tournament suspend all play for an entire day as they stood alongside Osaka. Later that month, she wore face masks in remembrance of the lives taken due to racial injustice.
Osaka also gave a simple yet strong message to younger girls following in her footsteps.
“What I would like to say to all the young girls watching tonight, try your best every day, you’ll never know where that’s going to take you,” Osaka said. “I would consider it a game and maybe you’ll be sitting where I’m sitting in a couple of years and I can’t wait to see that.”