'Inspiring': Naomi Osaka turns heads in bold new fashion statement
Whether it be on the tennis court, during interview or on social media, Naomi Osaka certainly knows how to grab the world's attention.
The World No.2 returns to the WTA Tour for the Madrid Open this week, hoping to close the gap on Australia's Ash Barty, who has strengthened her grip on the number one ranking with back-to-back tournament victories.
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While Osaka's focus will be on trying to improve on a clay court record that falls short of her incredibly lofty standards, the 23-year-old took time out before the Madrid Open to show off her latest fashion venture.
Osaka has dabbled with bright pink hair before, but she took the colour inspiration to the next level in a partnership with Los Angeles-based fashion brand Frankies Bikinis.
Decked out in an eye-catching bright pink bikini and hair to match, the Japanese star was thrilled to model the new line of swimwear that's set to launch next month.
“I think it’s really important for brands to design for all women, not just certain sizes or shapes or body types,” Osaka said in a press release.
“For me, it’s important to align myself with brands that make inclusivity a priority.”
The company's founder Francesca Aiello said working with someone as "strong and "creative" as Osaka was a no-brainer for the fashion label.
“To state the obvious, Naomi is extremely creative,” Aiello said.
“She has an amazing sense of style that she has made her own.
“She represents a strong female who is living out her dream and inspiring others to follow theirs.
“She is genuinely just an amazing person all around.”
The new shots come after Osaka last month delivered a stunning response to haters with a series of different bikini snaps on her Instagram page.
The Japanese megastar has hit out at online trolls in the past after revealing some of the nasty comments she's received about similar photos.
In a series of snaps showing the Japanese tennis star wearing a red bikini, Osaka showed off a new watch, bracelet and pendant necklace gifted to her by boyfriend Cordae.
The 23-year-old copped some disgusting backlash last year after posting similar photos in her swimwear.
“Is that pregnancy or quarantine stomach?” one user commented on a photo in July.
Another wrote: “I don't get why you would post half naked pics of yourself.
“Have some class... you don't need to do this.”
Others told Osaka to cover up and “save that for your husband.”
Osaka's message for the haters
But the four-time grand slam champion wasn't about to let the trolls get away with it.
“I just wanna say it’s creeping me out how many people are commenting at me to maintain my “innocent image” and “don’t try to be someone your not”,” she wrote on Twitter.
“You don’t know me, I’m 22, I wear swimsuits to the pool. Why do you feel like you can comment on what I can wear?”
Now 23, the World No.2 is preparing for her assault on the clay court season as she prepares for the Madrid Open.
The first round clash with Misaki Doi will be Osaka's first match back on the WTA Tour since the Miami Open and her first on a clay court since the 2019 French Open.
Osaka hasn't enjoyed much success on clay, despite winning four grand slam singles titles across the Australian Open and US Open.
"At the end of the day, I haven't played a clay tournament in two years," Osaka said.
"Haven't touched clay in two years either.”
But Osaka said she is feeling calm ahead of her return at Madrid.
“It's really hard to tell because I can't remember how I felt the last time I was here playing, but I do know that I think I'm hitting the ball pretty well," she added.
"I can only hope that for now that's good enough. Maybe when I play my matches I'll be able to adjust a lot better."
Osaka has been in an extended battle with Barty for the World No.1 ranking, but has since slipped behind after the Aussie's consecutive titles at the Miami Open and Stuttgart Open.
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