WASHINGTON, January 29, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)
As Naomi Osaka readies to start her 2021 tennis season Down Under, the reigning US Open champion continues to smash glass ceilings and break down barriers. After using her social media platforms as a means of promoting social activism and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, she became a brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton and TAG Heuer and was featured in a fashion spread in Vogue during the off-season. Last year, Osaka was named Forbes‘ highest-paid female athlete in the world.
On Thursday, the tennis superstar and global sports icon who is the daughter of a Haitian father and Japanese mother announced she’s become an investor in the North Carolina Courage women’s professional soccer team. The Courage are based in Cary, N.C., and members of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in the United States.
In a press release, Osaka said: “The women who have invested in me growing up made me who I am today and I cannot think of where my life would be without them. My investment in the North Carolina Courage is far beyond just being a team owner, it’s an investment in amazing women who are role models and leaders in their fields and inspirations to all young female athletes.I also admire everything the Courage does for diversity and equality in the community, which I greatly look forward to supporting and driving forward.“
The women who have invested in me growing up made me who I am today, I don’t know where I would be without them. Throughout my career I’ve always received so much love from my fellow female athletes so that’s why I am proud to share that I am now a owner of @TheNCCourage ⚽️❤️ pic.twitter.com/Iz0YcVvOqz
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) January 28, 2021
North Carolina Courage owner Steve Malik said: “I am thrilled to welcome Naomi as an owner of the North Carolina Courage. Naomi embodies the values we have been striving to cultivate at our club, and she brings an invaluable viewpoint on topics beyond sports. I cannot think of anyone better to help us as we continue to make a difference in our community and inspire the next generation of women.”
The North Carolina Courage are part of the largest youth to professional soccer club in the United States, with over 13,000 players. According to the Courage, Osaka’s investing in the team aligns organically with organically her Naomi Osaka Play Academy, which is an initiative that aims to change the lives of girls through both play and sport.
“Naomi is the perfect fit as an owner because her values sync so well with our club,” said Curt Johnson, Courage president and general manager. “A team with an exemplary and trailblazing roster of world-class professional athletes supported by a globally influential icon is a seminal moment for our sport and the Courage organization.”
— NC Courage (@TheNCCourage) January 28, 2021
Andrey Rublev: Getting to know him
I want to share a part of myself. Something very special to me that I’ve never done before. Team @sportsru created a documentary movie.This is an attempt to see who I’m. I tried to show myself more deeper,things you’ve never known about me before. https://t.co/fKthrr9Q2U pic.twitter.com/v62pZfaXjD
— Andrey Rublev (@AndreyRublev97) January 27, 2021
Simona Halep: Passing shots and thoughts from Simo
7 years ago today I made my Top 10 debut. 346 weeks later I’m still there 😝
What a wild, beautiful journey it has been, feeling very proud of this streak and excited for what’s ahead 🙃 pic.twitter.com/RvD8UzGMc4
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) January 28, 2021
Andy Murray: Staying fit during the tennis lockdown
— PA Sport (@pasport) January 27, 2021
Ashleigh Barty: AO Quickfire Quiz
Welcome to the first episode of Quickfire Quiz!
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2021
Grigor Dimitrov: Thankful for what I get
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2021
The Way Back Machine: Four years ago, while two months pregnant
Four years ago today, this real-life superhero won her 23rd Grand Slam while two months pregnant.
I am blessed to participate in your historic journey, @serenawilliams.
— Patrick Mouratoglou (@pmouratoglou) January 28, 2021
The Way Back Machine, Part II: Andre Agassi, 2001 Australian Open
— USTA (@usta) January 28, 2021
The Way Back Machine, Part III: Andy Murray, 20 years ago …
— judy murray (@JudyMurray) January 28, 2021
What they’re writing
Caira Conner of The Atlantic shares a timely story about the world’s best tennis players, who are serving balls into mattresses while waiting out their mandatory quarantine in Melbourne in advance of the Australian Open.
How do you train for one of the world’s biggest tennis tournaments while quarantined in a hotel room? Seventy-two players have no choice but to squat-press leather chairs and hit serves into their mattress, writes @CairaConner. https://t.co/g3saYheFjM
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) January 28, 2021
What they’re sharing on social media
Roberto Bautista Agut / Good practices with Daniil Medvedev
Buenas jornadas de entrenamiento aquí en Melbourne con @DaniilMedwed y su equipo! 🎾
Good tennis sessions with Daniil and his team these days! pic.twitter.com/0epVO0kAmD
— Roberto BautistaAgut (@BautistaAgut) January 27, 2021
Sofia Kenin / Love being back here
Love being back here 😁 pic.twitter.com/j23plcFGT0
— Sofia Kenin (@SofiaKenin) January 28, 2021
Petra Kvitova / From one Petra to another …
From one Petra to another, thanks for being my quarantine practice partner.
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) January 28, 2021