Naomi Osaka signs with sports apparel giant Nike
Naomi Osaka, the world number one female tennis player has signed a deal with Nike, the sportswear maker has announced.
The sports attire giant wrote on its website that the Japanese star, will wear Nike gear for the first time later this time at the Stuttgart Grand Prix.
In a statement, the 21 year old expressed her pride at joining the Nike family and excitement at experiencing all the opportunities that the brand has to offer.
Amy Montagne Nike’s VP added in the statement what a talent Naomi is and an incredible addition she is to their campaign of inspiring a new generation of female athletes.
Osaka’s rise to the top of the world’s best in the women’s game has world’s top brands scrambling to sign her as the new hottest marketable commodity. She already has deals with watch company Citizen, car manufacturer Nissan, Japanese airline All Nippon Airways, amongst others.
Industry watchers were surprised by the Japanese tennis star for signing the Nike endorsement deal reportedly switching from the sports brand’s largest rival Adidas. The world of sports had expected Adidas to pay a record sum to renew its clothing endorsement with the number 1 player.
Reports had it that Osaka’s clothing deal’s winning bidder would part with up to $8.5million. However, Nike is yet to disclose the terms of the deal and how much it paid Osaka in their statement released on Thursday.
Osaka joins Serena Williams at Nike whose high-profile win against the 23 times grand slam winner launched the young star into stardom making her the new face with international appeal, more importantly for advertises pursuing younger as well as more diverse shoppers. Osaka’s father is Haitian-American while her mother is Japanese.
Osaka’s Impressive Track Record
The 21-year-old tennis sensation is popular for her multi-ethnic background as well as her shy but frank personality. On the court, she has been admired for her aggressive playing style and her powerful serve that can reach 200 km/h (125 miles/h).
Naomi Osaka is currently the women’s singles reigning champion at both the Australian Open and the US Open. Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) ranks her at number 1 and holds the record as the first Asian to reach such a height in singles. Osaka has won three titles as well as reached five finals on the WTA tour.
The world came to know of her during her WTA debut tour in 2014 at the Stanford Classic when she beat former US Open champion Samantha Stosur. She was only 16 years old.
She reached her first WTA final two years later at the 2016 Pan Pacific Open held in Japan and it was at this point that she entered WTA’s top 50 rankings.
Osaka made her leap forward into the upper tier of women’s tennis in 2018 at the Indian Wells Open after winning her first WTA title at the tournament. In September, she defeated high profile major champion Serena Williams at the US Open final to become Japan’s first player to secure a Grand Slam singles tournament title. She secured her second Grand Slam title at this year’s Australian Open.
Topping the Money List on the WTA tour
Last year, Osaka collected $6.4 million in winnings and since then she has surpassed the $10 million mark. This is a huge contrast to Serena Williams who only made a little over $300,000 in the same year after returning from having her first child. However, Williams still holds the record for the highest all-time female tennis player earner with over $88 million prize money.
More winnings and endorsement deals like this and she is expected to be the highest paid athlete by 2020.
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