Naomi Osaka Shares Behind-the-Scenes Snaps from Her Time at Tokyo Summer Games: An 'Olympic Collage'
The 23-year-old tennis star shared a carousel of photos and videos from her experience in Japan on Sunday via Instagram. She captioned the special post, "a olympic collage."
Osaka began with a smiling selfie of herself holding up a peace sign on her left hand. The post included several candids from her trip, including images of her trying new foods and a snap of herself video chatting with her adorable French bulldog.
Also featured in the carousel were shots of some unique Japanese cuisine, Osaka's Netflix documentary — which hit No. 1 during the Summer Games — and the tennis phenom competing in the Olympics before her shocking elimination in the third round by Markéta Vondroušová of the Czech Republic, who went on to win the silver medal.
Despite growing up in the United States, the four-time singles Grand Slam winner represented Japan at the Olympics (Osaka's mother, Tamika Osaka, is Japanese). In July, she had the honor of lighting the cauldron with the Olympic torch for the Summer Games.
"The most important thing was to deliver a message of diversity and inclusion. In the end, we decided on [Osaka] because she is a great athlete and she has been delivering a variety of messages so we thought she was the best person to be the final torchbearer. It was a decision that the whole organizing committee came to," said Hioki Takayuki, executive producer of the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony.
Prior to the Games, Osaka withdrew from both the French Open and Wimbledon as she prepared to compete in Tokyo. She credited her absence from the French Open as an effort to preserve her mental health.
"Hey everyone, this isn't a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris," Osaka wrote on Instagram in May.
"I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer," she added. "More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly."
On July 16, Netflix premiered the documentary Naomi Osaka: Playing By Her Own Rules, which details the life and personality of the tennis star. Osaka said she was "terrified" to release the series.
"This isn't like a tennis match where I win or lose and from there people can say whether I did well or not," she wrote on Twitter the day of the premiere. "This is a look into my life from a certain time period and I can't fight the feeling of wondering how it will be received. This is in some ways my soul and a reflection of who I am."
At the time, Osaka said she hoped "there are pieces that people can relate to and maybe other pieces that would help people understand why I make the choices I make."
"If it doesn't that's cool too, it took me a while but I realized that I can't please everyone and I'm really not trying to," Osaka concluded. "When I go to sleep at night I can only hope I am at peace with myself and I hope the same rings true for anyone reading this."