Naomi Osaka being inspired by Serena Williams, along with the 23 Grand Slam singles champion’s guidance, is coming full circle.
In 2021, the 25-year-old openly expressed her gratitude for Williams paving the way for a young Black woman tennis player like herself.
“She literally built champions” @serenawilliams was her inspiration, so now it’s @NaomiOsaka’s turn to inspire the next tennis great 🎾 🏆#TheShop is back tonight at 9 PM on @HBOMax. pic.twitter.com/VsV6CxZtgl
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) September 24, 2021
“If I were to retire from tennis, I would want people to remember me with how I acted towards people and how I interacted. For example, Serena. Her legacy is more than her being Serena. I started playing because of her,” Osaka shared on HBO’s “The Shop.” I’m sure there’s so many other girls that started playing because of her…she literally built champions. And I think passing it down is how the newer generations get inspired.”
It’s no secret that Williams has passed down the torch to those who have come after her. However, it’s not just showing on the court but also in numbers.
Forbes reports that Osaka and Williams were the only two women among its world’s 50 highest-paid athletes list. What’s more, her annual earnings have exceeded Williams’ since 2020.
For 2022, Osaka came in at No. 1 — for the third consecutive year — on Forbes’ world’s 25 highest-paid female athletes list with $51.1 million in earnings.
Williams’ earnings came in at $41.3 million.
Osaka made $1.1 million on the tennis court and $50 million off of it.
“Only six members of Forbes’ 2022 athletes list made more than her $50 million off the field,” according to the outlet.
Additionally, she’s been making investments and building her portfolio. According to Crunchbase, she’s made investments in the following companies:
- Athletic Brewing
- FTX (Note: declared bankruptcy in November 2022)
- Daring Foods
Additionally, AfroTech reported that she invested in a pickleball team alongside Patrick Mahomes and others.
Check out more details on her investments here.
Among Osaka and Williams on Forbes’ list were the likes of other Black women such as:
- Venus Williams
- Coco Gauff
- Simone Biles
- Candace Parker
“Now, a new group of marketable sports stars is coming of age and already earning millions,” the outlet wrote. “In fact, eight of 2022’s top-earning female athletes made at least $10 million, double the number from a year ago and the first time more than seven women have hit that milestone since Forbes introduced the ranking in 2008.”