Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates against Marie Bouzkova (not pictured) of the Czech Republic during their Women‘s Singles first round match on Day One of the 2021 US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2021 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.
Memorable

Naomi Osaka acknowledges young fan after winning her first 2021 US Open match

The tennis player thanked her support and gave her a gift

Naomi Osaka continues defending her US Open title! The Haitian-Japanese tennis player won her first 2021 US Open match against Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic. The 23-year-old athlete defeated Bouzkova after winning two straight sets.

“It‘s an incredible energy. There’s going to be a crowd this year. I’m honestly just excited to be here,” Osaka said ahead of the match. “I really love New York, and hopefully, I stay for the full two weeks,” she added.

2021 US Open©GettyImages
Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a forehand against Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic in the first round of the women‘s singles at the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 30, 2021 in New York City.

A young fan cheering from afar was among the crowd enjoying Osaka’s incredible performance at the Flushing Meadows. Following her win, Osaka thanked her support and gave her a gift. “I just heard her when I was playing my match, and she was so cute,” Naomi said. “Thank you for cheering me on. In the Olympics, we got little pins we were supposed to pass around to other players, like trading pins. I wasn’t there for a long time, so I have a couple in my bag leftover. I thought it would be a nice little memory.”

Before her 2021 US Open match, Osaka took social media to share some memories with her followers. “I’ve been reflecting over this past year. So grateful for the people around me because the support I feel is completely unparalleled,” she began. “Recently, I’ve been asking myself why do I feel the way I do, and I realize one of the reasons is because internally I think I’m never good enough,” she revealed.

Imposter syndrome has impacted Osaka’s self-esteem heavily, to the point of self-sabotage. “I’ve never told myself that I’ve done a good job, but I do know I constantly tell myself that I suck or I could do better. I know in the past some people have called me humble, but if I really consider it, I think I’m extremely self-deprecating,” the tennis player continued.

“Every time a new opportunity arises, my first thought is, ‘wow, why me?’ I guess what I‘m trying to say is that I’m gonna try to celebrate myself and my accomplishments more; I think we all should,” she suggests. “You got up in the morning and didn’t procrastinate on something? Champion. Figured something out at work that’s been bugging you for a while? Absolute legend. Your life is your own, and you shouldn’t value yourself on other people’s standards. I know I give my heart to everything I can, and if that’s not good enough for some, then my apologies, but I can’t burden myself with those expectations anymore. Seeing everything that’s going on in the world, I feel like if I wake up in the morning, that’s a win. That’s how I’m coming.”

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