Photo by Carine06
Netflix released the first trailer for Naomi Osaka, a limited series about the Japanese tennis star, on Tuesday.
The series, which premieres on July 16, follows both Osaka’s rise to tennis superstardom and her growing involvement in political activism. Osaka is currently ranked second in the world in women’s tennis singles.
“This intimate series follows Naomi Osaka as she explores her cultural roots and navigates her multifaceted identity as a tennis champ and rising leader,” the show’s synopsis reads.
Osaka, who is of Haitian and Japanese descent, burst onto the pro tennis scene before turning 16 and has already racked up numerous accolades at the age of 23. She has won four Grand Slams: two Australian Opens and two U.S. Opens. She is also the first Asian player to be top-ranked in singles.
Osaka’s work off the court, though, is just as important to her. She has embraced the Black Lives Matter movement by attending protests and making donations to organizations. In the trailer, she speaks about famously wearing face masks bearing the names of Black people killed (mostly) by the police during tennis tournaments.
“I always had this pressure to maintain this squeaky image. But now, I don’t care what anyone has to say,” Osaka says in the documentary trailer. “None of these deaths had to happen, and I just want everyone to know the names.”
Though not shown in the trailer, Osaka has also spoken out in support of the Stop Asian Hate campaign.
In the trailer, Osaka also speaks about how she wanted to play tennis to improve her mother’s life as well as how her father gave her strength. According to Deadline, the series will feature Osaka traveling to Japan and Haiti to further explore her heritage.
“My dad’s always been proud of where he comes from. Whenever I’m in hard situations, he’s always told me my ancestors were on the ship for, like, 40 days,” Osaka says. “I use that as strength.”
In a statement, series director Garrett Bradley said the show is not only about Osaka’s life but also about finding purpose in life and the courage to stand up for personal values, according to Rolling Stone.
Osaka recently stood up for her values when she refused to participate in the French Open’s postgame press conferences in May, citing her mental health as a priority. She eventually withdrew from the Open altogether once her decision began to dominate the headlines.
“More than anything, I’d hope people can feel the power of empathy and to feel encouraged to take chances in life, perhaps especially in moments where the stakes can feel impossibly high,” Bradley told Rolling Stone.
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