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Naomi Osaka shares emotional letter about young fans

ROLE MODEL: Naomi Osaka is an inspiring a whole new generation of tennis players

NAOMI OSAKA has said she feels a huge responsibility as a role model to the next generation.

The 21-year-old made the revelation in an emotional letter she shared on social media yesterday.

Osaka, who is Haitian-Japanese, was prompted to write the note, which she published in English and in Japanese, after she was approached my numerous parents who told her that their children look up to her.

Sharing the thoughts she had after coming to the realisation that she was a role model to many kids, she wrote: “I was honestly so shocked and felt this huge responsibility because I remembered how important my role models are. Also, the fact that the parents themselves were telling me this meant they approved (which is mind blowing to me).”

Osaka, who won the 2018 US Open, defeating one of her own role models, Serena Williams, has been vocal about how the 23-time grand slam champion has inspired her. And now she is realising her own career is bigger than just the sport itself but it’s also about inspiring the next generation.

“I start think about when I was a kid and all the people that inspired me to dream big and reach for my dreams. The fact that I’m in this position now to inspire kids when I feel like just yesterday I was eight years old hitting on some busted down public courts (lol) is seriously a really huge honor [sic] for me,” she wrote.

The Australian Open champion said her heart feels so full in the moments when she is taking pictures with young fans and signing autographs for them.

The parents of Osaka’s young fans aren’t the only ones to give her the seal of approval as an inspiration for the next generation, toy brand Mattel has too. She is one of 20 women who have had a Barbie created in their likeness as part of the iconic toy’s 60th anniversary and International Women’s Day.

Osaka’s doll, dressed in tennis whites, comes complete with her dip-dye hair style and a tennis racket and tennis ball.

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