World number two Naomi Osaka has been named the 2021 Laureus Sportswoman of the Year for her achievements both on and off the court.
The Laureus Awards are held annually, honouring individuals and teams from the world of sports for their achievements throughout the year.
Osaka won the US Open for the second time in 2020 and followed this up by winning this year’s Australian Open. Her form throughout this period saw her go 23 matches unbeaten, before losing to Maria Sakkari in the quarter-finals of the Miami Open.
As an activist for the Black Lives Matter movement, the Japanese star also joined the athlete led protests regarding racial injustice in the US and wore seven different masks, each with a different name of a black victim, on course to winning at Flushing Meadows.
Speaking in her acceptance speech, Osaka said: “I’ve watched so many of my role models win this award, so it definitely means a lot now to be holding it. I am so happy to receive it. It really means a lot to me.”
This is not the first time the 23-year-old has garnered recognition from Laureus. In 2019, she won the Breakthrough of the Year award, after winning her first Grand Slam at the US Open and becoming world number one that same season.
Osaka is currently behind Ashleigh Barty in the rankings and suffered a disappointing exit in the second round of the Madrid Open this week. She has, however, been working hard away from the game.
The four-time Grand Slam winner launched her own skincare range recently as well as a new swimwear collection. She will also co-chair this year’s Met Gala alongside a wealth of celebrities, including the likes of Timothée Chalamet and Billie Eilish.
Osaka is due to return to tennis next week at the Italian Open. Despite being seeded second, the 23-year-old is still searching for her first title on clay. Having won multiple majors already and been named the Sportswoman of the Year, this is surely the next achievement she’ll want to tick off the list.News Now - Sport News