Women’s tennis is lucky to have Naomi as figurehead, says King
LONDON (UK) – Billie Jean King, one of the greatest trailblazers of tennis, said that women’s tennis is lucky to have US Open champion Naomi Osaka as its new figurehead.
Apart from winning a second title at Flushing Meadows last week, the 22-year-old Japanese player shot to fame for becoming a champion of racial equality.
King, 76, equates Osaka’s off-court stance to that of the Original Nine, a group of players led by King who championed the cause of the professional women’s tennis tour, leading to the formation of WTA in 1973.
“She is already huge on and off the court. She is very humble and really looks at you when you talk to her and takes in the information and comes up with an authentic response,” King said of Osaka, who was born to a Japanese mother and Haitian father.
“In many ways Naomi is a product of the Original Nine. Think about that, she is what we fought for. That if you’re good enough you will have a place to compete, wherever you are from.
“Naomi is a product of our wishes and dreams.”