Naomi Osaka is trying to avoid the spotlight, but it looks like she’s only managed to distance herself from tennis media. The four-time major champion showed up on the red carpet of the ESPY Awards ceremony on Saturday night.
Since withdrawing from the last two Grand Slams to enjoy solitude and work on her mental health, Osaka has promoted her second capsule collection with Nike, graced the cover of Vogue Japan, announced a sponsorship deal with Panasonic, released a trailer for her three-part Netflix docuseries, wrote an essay entitled “It’s O.K. Not to Be O.K.” for Time magazine, and glammed up for the ESPYs event in New York.
ESPN reports that Osaka faced a slew of photographers and posed as cameras clicked furiously. The Japanese wore an extravagant striped black-and-white top that looks like a long elegant poncho and she tucked it in a green Louis Vuitton skirt. She tied her hair in a ponytail and added a lot of extensions.
The 23-year-old Osaka was nominated in two categories: “Best athlete, women’s tennis” and “Best athlete, women’s sports”. The world’s highest-paid female athlete won both categories at the annual show honoring the year’s top athletes and sports moments.
Before taking the stage, Osaka high-fived her boyfriend Cordae. In her speech, she said:
I just really want to not say a long speech because I’m a bit nervous. This year has been a really, it hasn’t even finished, but it’s been really tough for a lot of us. For me, I just want to say I really love you guys.
Having skipped Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Osaka will return to tennis at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.