#grace

More love for Naomi Osaka

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20yo Naomi Osaka deserves every success she gets. She is without doubt the hottest marketing prospect globally. There is no media spin or polish with her on any level. She is authentic in the extreme. No prima donna antics or bragging. If anything her press conferences since returning have defined her as ‘what you see is what you get.’ Humility and grace. Pray we get more millennials like her. She shows one doesn’t have to beat their chest in ridiculous ways to get attention.

No wonder Adidas want to throw $11.9m per year to sponsor her. As a Nissan ambassador, despite her media appearance in front of the Leaf electric vehicle, when asked Naomi just let her inner petrol head scream her favorite car – the GT-R. Lucky for her she will get one in white.

The world of tennis couldn’t have a better ambassador for the game. Let’s hope that the media don’t pry too deeply into her private life (good luck with that) and her sports manager doesn’t put her on a multi-year roadshow from hell to please sponsors which would put any star to the test.

The tale of two interviews – Osaka wins 6-0, 6-0

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Such is the weakness in today’s journalism that Serena Williams’ post match interview played to her being a victim, not a bully in her loss to Naomi Osaka. What were they worried about? If they didn’t treat the multiple grand slam winner nicely they’d lose access in the future?

She played like a brat – smashed rackets, denied using her coach, wailed at the umpire and then suggested “sexism”, “women’s rights” and “women’s equality”! Seriously? Why would Osaka feel the need to apologize for winning had Serena not stirred up the crowd to boo her? Poor old Osaka’s rights didn’t matter to Williams.

Naomi Osaka blew Serena off the court with superior tennis skills. She didn’t whine once. She deserved it. How disgusting for Osaka to be booed. What on earth would possess any fans to do it?

If only Americans could have seen Osaka’s interview on Japanese TV late last night. She was like the girl next door. Not pretentious or gloating. She was so dazed by what she had done that she repeatedly answered in English when questions in Japanese were lobbed at her. It wasn’t deliberate or calculating in the slightest. If anything she gave one word answers for the most part. Yet she oozed warmth and class.

Osaka deserves every endorsement she gets because she is exactly the type of demeanor lacking in professional sports these days.

Serena can play victim all she likes. There must be plenty who feel for the hardship at all the millions she has won over her career. Sexism and women’s equality? Does she forget blasting a lineswoman and female umpires in the past? What about Osaka? One journalist asked Williams did her motherly instincts kick in to comfort Naomi Osaka? Were you watching the same game?

Osaka embodies the best parts of what modern sports should look like. Authentic to a fault. She  can only make one smile at her sweet personality and ‘dizzy’ approach at speaking arrangements. No pretentious pieces to her puzzle at all. No heavily scripted media trained praise of her sponsors.

Serena on the other hand represents the type of sportsperson that lacks grace. Talk about role models for children. Yet the way to win these days in sport seems to be to driven by  controversy. Nike must be proud. Perhaps the sporting goods brand’s next ad can replace Kaepernick with Serena:“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing your opponent