By Benjamin Rothenberg
Most tennis fans met the Haitian-American-Japanese player Naomi Osaka for the first time as they watched her win the 2018 US Open in a controversial match against Serena Williams. Since then, Osaka has galvanised the tennis world not only by winning three more grand slams—all tennis fans will remember Osaka winning the Australian Open twice—but also by being outspoken on matters of social justice and mental health. It is both her extraordinary talent and her candour that have propelled her to the top of her sport and onto the front page of newspapers and magazines worldwide, making her the highest-paid female athlete in the world since 2020.
But where did she come from and how did she get here? The story of Naomi Osaka and her family is unlike any other. Readers will be thrilled to read this book and learn more about tennis’s most fascinating player.
Ben Rothenberg has covered Naomi Osaka around the world since she emerged onto the WTA Tour in 2014. In this book, Ben will chart Naomi Osaka’s incredible impact on tennis and on social justice in sports, predicting where she’ll go next.
PRAISE FOR BEN ROTHENBERG
‘Naomi Osaka has an incredible inner strength, both on and off the court. She does everything, including speaking out on important social issues, with grace and kindness. Her courage is enormous. She is a trailblazer, a role model and an inspiration.’
‘This riveting book is about race, class, mental health, fame and what it really takes to make a world champion.’
‘A comprehensive look at the career of a young tennis star.’
‘Rothenberg provides exciting accounts of key matches and a sensitive treatment of Osaka’s public battle with depression… Osaka’s fans will lap this up.’
‘Ben Rothenberg worked alongside me for many years as a contributor to The New York Times. He is one of the best reporters in the global game of tennis, and he proves it once again with this deep dive into the multicultural phenomenon that is Naomi Osaka.’
Christopher Clarey, New York Times bestselling author of The Master
‘Ben Rothenberg’s myriad revelations will inspire re-evaluations of this most reluctant superstar. With uncommon reporting, he examines what drove Osaka and what drove her to despair, and in doing so he articulates how she has grown, changed, and changed the game around her.’
Mary Carillo, NBC Sports and HBO’s Real Sports
‘A compelling, comprehensive biography of one of the most fascinating athletes of the past decade. Rothenberg provides essential context for both her on-court successes and off-court decisions. Even as someone who has covered Osaka’s entire career, I learned a lot.’
Tumaini Carayol, Guardian
‘What is the price of superstardom? Rothenberg had a front-row seat for Naomi Osaka’s rise from tennis curiosity to cultural icon and he beautifully captures the ups and downs of her riveting ride.’
Karen Crouse, author of Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence
‘An insightful look into the unconventional life of this Gen-Z tennis star…Sports fans will devour details about Osaka’s coaches and tournament matches…Especially moving is the account of how Osaka, a self-described introvert, made her foray into sports activism in support of the Black Lives Matter movement…Using her platform, Osaka has made a mark advocating for mental health and, as Rothenberg shows, along the way learned to be unapologetically herself.’
Booklist (starred review)
About the author:
Ben Rothenberg is a sportswriter from Washington, D.C. He is extraordinarily well known in the Australian media, having appeared on Today, ABC News, Channel Nine and SEN among many others. His writing has also been published in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Saturday Paper. He has covered Naomi Osaka around the world since she emerged onto the WTA Tour in 2014, both in print for the New York Times and on his podcast, No Challenges Remaining. His work has focused on the intersections of social and cultural issues in tennis. A senior editor for Racquet magazine, Ben Rothenberg has appeared frequently as a tennis expert on international networks such as CNN and the BBC. With an eye for finding stories and dogged determination as a reporter, Rothenberg has become by many metrics the world’s leading tennis journalist.
Publisher: Text Publishing