Naomi Osaka did not change too much as a person since when she started having success on the women's tour. 12 months ago the Japanese won her maiden career-title in Indian Wells defeating Daria Kasatkina in the final. She went on to win her maiden Grand Slam at the US Open and she repeated herself at this year's Australian Open prevailing over Petra Kvitova in a three-set championship clash.
Through her official Twitter account, Osaka wrote: "Writing this now to organize my thoughts and try to put in words what I've been feeling. Recently a lot of parents have been coming up to me and telling me that their kids look up to me, those words literally blew me away.
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).
Fast forward a few days and I'm here at Indian Wells, I see all these kids that look so happy to see me and they ask for pictures and autographs...Honestly I wanted to cry because my heart feels so full in these moments and I realize that it isn't just about tennis, it's about inspiring the next generation- and seeing all these kids, (a.k.a my babies, I start thinking 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 8 years old hitting on some busted down public courts (lol) is seriously a really huge honour for me and I realize I'm literally just a small piece in a very VERY big picture.
Sorry if I'm too soppy haha, I just wanted to type out my thoughts since I'm in a good place mentally right now. I really love you guys and Thank you."