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Naomi Osaka headed for big money with Japan, global appeal

By Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press TOKYO (AP) — Naomi Osaka used a powerful forehand and a matching serve to win the U.S. Open against Serena Williams two months ago, soaring as high as No. 4 this season in the WTA tennis rankings. Off the court — on the marketing front — she has the same potential. Maybe more. "It's very, very rare to find a Japanese-born female athlete who appeals to an international audience," said Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing expert and creative director at Baker Street Advertising in San Francisco, California. Serena Williams topped the Forbes list of the highest-earning female athletes this year at $18 million, almost all endorsements. Osaka appears to be the right woman in the right sport at the right time with the draw to overtake Williams. "What's more, tennis, especially women's tennis, is a sport that lends itself to a broad variety of sponsors: sporting goods, health and beauty, fashion, lifestyle, travel, personal care, you name it," Dorfman said. "And the sport's international following brings with it a large, loyal and affluent fan base. All the more reason why so many companies are lining up to sign her up." The big question is: Can she keep this up? Much has happened very quickly for her, notes former tennis star Chris Evert. "You know, it's going to be life-changing for her and very, very important," Evert said. "From what I see, she is very humble and from what I see, her parents are very humble people. Hopefully they won't go Hollywood on us. We don't want that to happen." Osaka's multicultural background — Japan-born but raised in the U.S. by a Haitian-American father and a Japanese mother — adds to her wide appeal, endearing her to fans in Japan and elsewhere. Her disarming charm, off and on the court, including how she handled the turmoil surrounding her win over Williams, is also winning people over. "She appeals to the young and old, men and women, everyone," said Shigeru Tanaka, advertising manager at Citizen, her sponsor since August. Tokyo-based Citizen Watch Co.'s 80,000 yen ($700) Naomi Osaka watch is selling out at stores in Japan, thanks to the exposure it got on her wrist at the U.S. Open. Citizen was quick to take advantage of her Grand Slam win, taking out a one-third page ad in the Yomiuri newspaper's extra edition report of her win. Companies won't say how much her contracts are worth, but they tend to be written so that if she keeps winning, her earnings will keep going up. If one company won't pay, another will just snatch her up, marketing experts say. Although Japanese baseball players like Ichiro and Shohei Ohtani are superstars, that sport doesn't have the global appeal of tennis. There are Olympians, but their appeal tends to come and go every four years. Japan is "just starving for a star," Evert said. Osaka has been wearing various Citizen watches in matches and in photo ops and has told reporters the first watch she got from her mom was a Citizen. She has also said her father drove a Nissan while she was growing up — another in a growing line of sponsors. Besides Citizen, Osaka has deals with instant noodle-maker Nissin Foods Group, Japanese badminton and tennis racket maker Yonex Co., and athletic-wear and sneaker giant Adidas. Nissan Motor Co. signed Osaka as its three-year "brand ambassador" in September. The deal was in the works for a while, but the timing couldn't have been better, coming right after the U.S. Open. The Yokohama-based automaker is mulling a "Naomi Osaka model" car. She is also getting keys to a silver GT-R sports car. Investing in Osaka enhances brand image for the long-term, said Masao Tsutsumi, general manager in charge of Osaka-related marketing at Nissan. He said her transformation from "every girl" to superstar parallels the automaker's commitment to technological innovation. "She also is such a nice person while being utterly professional," he added. Yonex has been supplying rackets to Osaka since she was 10, after receiving a letter from her mother. The Osaka effect is evident in the growing popularity of Yonex rackets among younger Americans, the company says. Appearing before Yonex employees in Tokyo, Osaka drew affectionate laughter by insisting on addressing the crowd in Japanese, though she managed only a few words, including "onaji," or "the same," says Nori Shimojo, the company's official in charge of tennis player service. At just 21, Osaka's got plenty of time to learn the language of her birthplace if she wants to. As for her sponsorship windfall, she is shrugging it all off. "I wouldn't really know because I have never been in this territory," she said during a recent tournament in Singapore. "For me, I just focus on my matches, and, I mean, like I'm a tennis player, so I just play tennis." ___ Sandra Harwitt in Singapore contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnNov 9th, 2018

Osaka retires with injury, Bertens reaches WTA semifinals

SINGAPORE --- U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka finished her debut appearance at the WTA Finals on Friday with an injury and an 0-3 record. Osaka was trailing Kiki Bertens 6-3 when she retired from the match with an upper left leg injury. Bertens was awarded a straight-set victory and has advanced to the semifinals. Osaka, the only woman from Japan to win a Grand Slam title, went off court to receive treatment on the injury after the eighth game while trailing 5-3. She lost her serve at love in the ninth game and then decided to stop. Bertens qualified for the season-ending WTA Finals when No. 1 Simona Halep withdrew from the tournament with a lower back injury. In the ...Keep on reading: Osaka retires with injury, Bertens reaches WTA semifinals.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 26th, 2018

Osaka set for showdown against Stephens at WTA Finals

Japan's tennis player Naomi Osaka speaks during a press conference ahead of WTA Finals in Singapore, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. U.S. Open champion Osaka was drawn in the same group as Angelique.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsOct 21st, 2018

Japan s Naomi Osaka climbs to 4th in world women s rankings

PARIS, France – Japan's US Open champion Naomi Osaka rose to fourth place in the latest WTA rankings released Monday, October 8, on the strength of her outstanding form in recent weeks. Romania's Simona Halep tops the table ahead of second-placed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark with Germany's Angelique Kerber holding onto ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 9th, 2018

Osaka pulls out of Hong Kong Open with back injury

Naomi Osaka of Japan walks on the court after being treated by a trainer during her women’s semi-final match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beiji Source link link: Osaka pulls out of Hong Kong Open with back injury.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsOct 8th, 2018

Osaka pulls out of Hong Kong Open with back injury

Naomi Osaka of Japan walks on the court after being treated by a trainer during her women's semi-final match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beiji.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsOct 7th, 2018

US Open champ Osaka slumps against Sevastova in Beijing

Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts during her women's semi-final match against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 6, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Greg Bak.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsOct 7th, 2018

Finally clicked : Naomi Osaka says better focus behind stellar run

Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a return during her women's singles third round match against Julia Goerges of Germany at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 4, 2018. / AFP PHOTO.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsOct 5th, 2018

US Open title not the happiest memory , admits Osaka

Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with fans after winning her women's singles first round match against Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing on October 1, 2018. /.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsOct 3rd, 2018

US Open title not the happiest memory, says Naomi Osaka

BEIJING, China – Naomi Osaka made the startling admission on Monday, October 1, that winning the US Open was "bittersweet" and "not the happiest memory" and revealed that she has been trying to forget about the career-defining victory. The 20-year-old rising star from Japan stunned Serena Williams last month in a ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsOct 1st, 2018

Serena Williams keen to move on from US Open row

SYDNEY, Australia – Serena Williams says she is trying to "move on" from the meltdown that overshadowed her US Open final loss but remains perplexed at her coach's admission he illegally signalled to her. The 23-time Grand Slam champion lost the decider in straight sets to Japan's Naomi Osaka after a ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 24th, 2018

$60M in virtual currency hacked in Japan

TOKYO: Bitcoin and other digital currency worth around 6.7 billion yen ($60 million) has been stolen in Japan following a hacking attack, a virtual exchange operator said on Thursday. Osaka-based Tech Bureau, which operates virtual currency exchange Zaif, said its server had been illegally accessed and money transfered. “We decline to comment on the details [...] The post $60M in virtual currency hacked in Japan appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsSep 20th, 2018

Japan s Naomi Osaka blames US Open tears on notorious nerves

TOKYO, Japan – Naomi Osaka has put her US Open tears down to shredded nerves and her natural awkwardness, rather than the tantrum thrown by Serena Williams that overshadowed a historic Japanese win. The 20-year-old melted hearts when she burst into sobs as boos rang out following her emphatic ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 17th, 2018

Osaka s US Open win re-opens cultural discussion in Japan

Naomi Osaka, the champion of U.S. Open women's singles, smiles during a press conference in Yokohama , Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Osaka defeated Serena Williams of the U.S. on Saturday, Sept. 8.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsSep 14th, 2018

Naomi Osaka has no regrets over chaotic US Open final

    YOKOHAMA, Japan – Japan's Naomi Osaka has refused to criticize Serena Williams after her historic US Open victory was overshadowed by the American's furious row with the chair umpire. The 20-year-old melted hearts when she broke down sobbing after thrashing her idol 6-2, 6-4 to become Japan's first Grand Slam singles ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 13th, 2018

Serena fined $17,000 after U.S. Open final outburst

NEW YORK, USA – Serena Williams has been fined $17,000 by the US Tennis Association in the wake her outburst during a controversial US Open final loss to Japan's Naomi Osaka. The American star was fined for coaching, racquet abuse and for verbal abuse when she accused umpire Carlos Ramos of ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsSep 10th, 2018

New league out to help grow 3x3 in Philippines

Carrying the Philippine flag high and competing at a global level in 3x3 basketball - that is at stake in the Sina 3x3 Golden League Manila 2018. The first-ever tournament hopes to ride the rising tide of 3x3 as a sport - especially now that it is part of the medal tally in the Olympics. "With the introduction of 3x3 as a medal sport in Tokyo 2020, we want to enable more people to showcase their talent and present them with a global platform in Beijing," managing director Lars Heidenreich of Mediapro Asia, the organizers of the event, said. A total of 128 teams from the Philippines, Australia, Japan, Serbia, Taiwan, UK, and USA will vie for cash prizes of USD 3, 000 for the champion; USD 2, 000 for the first runner-up; and USD 1, 000 for the second runner-up. More importantly, they will be battling for the crown in the Manila tournament with the champion headed to Beijing for the inaugural Sina 3x3 International Elite League from November 13 to 17. There, the Philippine champion will compete against 11 of the best teams from around the world for the right to be named the first-ever Elite League champion as well as a cash prize of USD 50, 000. The three-day eliminations is scheduled on September 12 to 14 at the Taft Food by the Park in Manila and then the playoffs and Finals are set for September 15 at the Vista Mall in Taguig......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 6th, 2018

At French Open, Osaka balances tennis and PlayStation

Japan's Naomi Osaka returns a shot against Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas during their second round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, We.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 31st, 2018

Serena s French Open seed denial stirs fresh debate

FILE - Serena Williams returns a shot to Naomi Osaka of Japan during the Miami Open Presented by Itau at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 21, 2018 in Key Biscayne, Florida. Matthew Stockman/Gett.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 24th, 2018

Rival players support seeding Serena Williams at French Open

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 21, 2018 file photo, Serena Williams returns to Naomi Osaka, of Japan, during the Miami Open tennis tournament, in Key Biscayne, Fla. everal of Serena Williams'.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 22nd, 2018

Halep s hold on No. 1 gets a boost with Keys withdrawal

Romania' Simona Halep reacts after winning a point to Japan's Naomi Osaka, at the Italian Open tennis tournament in Rome, Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (Claudio Onorati/ANSA via AP) ROME -- Si.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philippinetimesRelated NewsMay 18th, 2018