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Making a name for herself has always been a motivation for four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, whether on the tennis court or through her myriad of off-court interests. But, as she reflects this week on the latest episode of Good Trouble with Nick Kyrgios, her perspective has now shifted. After giving birth to her first child, daughter Shai, last year, Osaka says she's now focused on using her achievements to leave the world a better place for the next generation.

"I have this thing about making history and I don't want my name to be erased ... I want to be remembered at least in one small way," she tells Kyrgios.

"I know that I'm not going to be here forever, and the only thing is just to keep making life easier and better for the generation that comes after you. And I think, well, I would hope that at least Shai has more opportunities than me."


Osaka's origins in tennis have been well-documented as she's risen from relative obscurity (she wasn't a highly-touted junior prospect) to a history-maker, as the first Asian to be ranked No. 1 in singles. The daughter of a Haitian father—who Osaka says followed Richard Williams' "blueprint" for getting her and sister, Mari—into tennis and Japanese mother, paying respect to where she came from has also been important to Osaka: whether that is through her words, her actions, or even through the unique platform she has by designing clothes with Nike.

"My cultures are very important to me," Osaka says, "and I try to incorporate them into everything I do."

Osaka's on-court triumphs have similarly built up her platform for off-court advocacy. One of the chief causes that Osaka has advocated for is changing the conversation around mental health in athletes, stemming from the open conversation she initiated when she opted out of press conferences at Roland Garros three years ago. Kyrgios, who has been open with his own mental health struggles, praises Osaka's influence in why he felt compelled to do say.

"I wouldn't change a thing because, as you know, everything that you've gone through in this career, all your life, you're going to educate so many of the future generations coming up," he says.


Kyrgios and Osaka also spend a portion of the shot discussing the things they learned from the late basketball star Kobe Bryant, and Osaka's personal friendship with him. A piece of advice that Bryant gave her early on, Osaka says, is something that can be applied to her past, present and future.

"I remember when I first met him and we kind of sat and had, I don't know, like three hours maybe of a conversation, and one of the things I always remember him telling me is, 'The people around you are noise,' if that makes sense," she says. "'If there's news and media and whatever, you're a lion, and all of that are the flies buzzing around the lion's eyes; you only
have to focus on your prey.

"I was like really inspired by that because sometimes, like when I sit and I think about my career, I feel a little sad because I'm like, I wonder if, like, he's kind of disappointed in me and how I handle things. But I think like just trying to refocus on kind of being a lion and like, wanting your prey and wanting to strive and get better is something that's hopefully I'm doing better at."

Since becoming a mother, Osaka says she's been striving to get better in many ways. The first of those is off the court, and appreciating the special things she can share with her daughter as a result of her tennis talents.

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka

"I think definitely this time away has really given me space to kind of be grateful for everything," she says. "I feel like there's one way to say you're grateful, but then to actually have the feeling and appreciate everything, and know that when you were a kid, you would have dreamed to be in the position you are in right now, it's a very happy feeling for me.

"I also think just having a daughter and having her look up to me and wanting to show her everything and all the beautiful places in the world is really cool."

But her on-court mentality has shifted, too, and Osaka is already on the record about her ambitious goals she has for what she's calling the second chapter of her career.

"I just feel like I don't have time to waste, so I'm trying to be really efficient with everything," she says. "I think when I was younger I could hit for three hours and waste time in the middle or whatever. But now I know there's someone waiting for me at home and I have to take care of her.

"So right now I just feel like every second counts."

Good Trouble with Nick Kyrgios airs on select Wednesdays on T2 (available on Amazon Freevee, Fubo, Hulu, Roku and Samsung TV Plus).