‘I hope to be a better person,’ says Naomi Osaka as she wins prestigious Laureus award

Naomi Osaka has picked up her first Laureus Sportswoman of the Year Award after a phenomenal season that saw her win back to back Grand Slams.

Voted for by the world’s sports media, the Laureus Awards aim to not only celebrate the highest sporting achievements but also honour those whose actions have transcended the court, track or field of play.

Osaka has previously won a Laureus Award for Breakthrough of the Year in 2019 after winning her first major at the US Open. She was also nominated in 2020 for Sportswoman of the Year but lost out to American gymnast Simon Biles.

In a year when the tennis calendar was disrupted for many months due to the coronavirus pandemic, Osaka managed to record back to back Grand Slam wins at the 2020 US Open and 2021 Australian Open for the second time in her career.

“I’ve watched so many of my role models win this [Sportswoman] Award, so it definitely means a lot now to be holding it,” Osaka said in her acceptance speech. “I am so happy to receive it. It really means a lot to me.”

The Japanese star hasn’t limited her impact to on-court activities either, regularly speaking out against racism and was a big voice in the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Regarding my activism on the court, I think it is important to use my voice, because for me I feel like I often hold back a lot and worry about what people think of me, but you know if you have a platform it is very important you use it,” Osaka said.

“Looking ahead my main hopes for the future would be just to have helped or impacted as many people as I could and, hopefully be a better person.”

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