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Naomi Osaka Opens Up About Being Labeled 'Shy' & Speaking Out Against Injustice

Naomi Osaka Opens Up About Being Labeled 'Shy' & Speaking Out Against Injustice

Naomi Osaka is on the cover of Vogue‘s January 2021 issue, out now.

Here’s what the 23-year-old tennis star had to say…

On being labeled “shy”: “That shy label has stuck with me through the ups and downs of my career, but I think people who have watched me grow would say that I navigate situations better, that I’m better able to express myself.

On becoming increasingly outspoken about racial injustice: “I feel like this is something that was building up in me for a while. I watched the Trayvon [Martin] stuff go down. For me that was super-scary. I travel so much during the year that I don’t always know the news that’s centered in the U.S. But then when the pandemic hit, there were no distractions. I was forced to look.”

On joining protests amid Black Lives Matter rallies: “I don’t think it matters if you’re shy or not, or if you’re introverted or extroverted. You’re just there in the moment. When you see it in real life—so many cameras filming everyone, police with guns outside the city hall, the parents of other victims telling their stories—it kind of hits you differently. You’re able to process it on your own terms.”

On wearing masks at the U.S. Open bearing the names of Black American victims of violence: “I was just thinking that I had this opportunity to raise awareness. Tennis is watched all around the world, so people who might not know these names can google them and learn their stories. That was a big motivator for me, and I think it helped me win the tournament.”

Find out what she said at the U.S. Open…

For more from Naomi, head to

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Naomi Osaka

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