Over the past few months, Naomi Osaka has not only been letting her racket do the talking but also her actions - whether it was her decision to speak out about the Black Lives Matter movement, to take a stand at the Western & Southern Open or to wear masks with names on it during the US Open this fortnight.
The 22 year old has been applauded for her efforts by some of the tennis greats such as Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Maria Sharapova and says she is surprised and honoured when someone like King, who is one of the founding members of the WTA Tour, sends her a text message to encourage her.
Naomi Osaka says she feels honoured and surprised when Billie Jean King texts her
Speaking to the press in New York, Osaka says, "I feel like sometimes when I get texts from her, it always surprises me. I always feel very honored.
And I feel like the fact that she's backing me up so much means a lot to me, especially through, you know, what's been going on the past week or so. So, yeah." The 22 year old also says that she has been surprised by the responses she has got for the masks she wears on court.
"I think the responses that meant the most to me are probably people saying thank you. And for me, I don't know, it always takes me by surprise because I don't know if I feel like I'm doing anything. But people say thank you and I'm proud of you, and for me that's something that's really touching to my heart.
I don't know. I feel like when I'm in the moment, I'm not aware of how many people are watching, but when I leave the court, then I feel like -- I don't know. I interact with people." One of the more light-hearted moments from this past week was Osaka's call with her mother on court after her second round match.
On Friday, she was asked who she would like most to appear on the post-match camera. "Honestly probably my dad, just because he's the one person I can see would never do it (smiling). Like literally anyone in the world, I don't think my dad would be the one to do it."
Naomi Osaka is through to the fourth round of the US Open after a 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 win over Ukraine's Marta Kostyuk. (Image Credit - US Open)