"@naomiosaka’s humility and dedication to others has been spectacular to watch," writes @DangeRussWilson. "She shows you can be among the best in the world at what you do, and still fight for justice and be open about the challenges you face" #TIME100 https://t.co/vi6C6CgIU2— TIME (@TIME) September 15, 2021
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Naomi Osaka recognized as one of Time's Most Influential People of 2021
NFL quarterback Russell Wilson wrote a touching tribute to the four-time major champion.
Published Sep 19, 2021
For the third straight year, Naomi Osaka landed on the Time Magazine’s Time 100 Most Influential list. Star NFL quarterback Russell Wilson wrote a touching tribute to the four-time Grand Slam champion.
"Naomi Osaka shows you can be among the best in the world at what you do, and still fight for justice and be open about the challenges you face," he wrote.
Wilson credited Osaka for standing up for racial inequalities and fighting against social injustices; just last year, she withdrew from the Western & Southern Open semifinals to protest against police brutality. This decision led the tournament organizers to stand in solidarity with her by cancelling play for an entire day.
Osaka's 2021 started off on the highest of notes as she lifted the Australian Open title to add her fourth Grand Slam title to her trophy case. However, it's been a tumultuous season for the world No. 5, but throughout the highs and lows, Osaka has been open and genuine in more ways than one and has served as an inspiration for many.
The 23-year-old star decided to step away from the court following a withdrawal from Roland Garros that stemmed from her refusal to participate in mandatory press conferences, opting to focus on her mental health. She returned to play the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but later announced an indefinite break from tennis after a third-round exit from the US Open. Her vulnerability sparked a conversation around athletes suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental health struggles.
Click here to read Wilson's full essay on Osaka.