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Serena Williams of the United States hugs a crying Naomi Osaka of Japan at the presentations after the Women’s Singles Final on Arthur Ashe Stadium at the 2018 US Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8th, 2018 in Flushing, Queens, New York City.
Tennis world number one Naomi Osaka has agreed a deal with sportswear giant Nike.
Osaka has been on an incredible run of form in the past year, which has seen her win her first and second Grand Slam titles back-to-back at last year’s U.S. Open and more recently at the Australian Open in January.
The Japanese star, who had previously been tied to rival Adidas, will first wear Nike gear at the Stuttgart Grand Prix, which begins on April 22.
“I’m proud to become a member of the Nike family and excited about getting involved in all of the opportunities Nike has to offer,” said Osaka in the statement on Nike’s website.
“Nike has a legendary track record of writing history and I look forward to being a part of those moments for many years to come.” the 21-year-old went on to say.
When she overcame Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final at Flushing Meadow in September, Osaka became the first Japanese player to win one of the four major tennis titles. She then backed that victory up by winning the first Grand Slam of 2019 as well, defeating Petra Kvitova in Melbourne.
“Naomi is an incredible talent to add to our roster and help drive our commitment to inspiring a new generation of female athletes,” Nike Vice President Amy Montagne added in the statement.
“We are thrilled to have her join our team.”
In 2018, Osaka topped the money list on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tour, collecting $6.4 million in winnings and has since broken through the $10 million mark. By contrast Serena Williams only made $342,246 in 2018 following her return after having her first child. However, Williams is still way out in front on the all-time female tennis earnings list with more than $88 million in prize money.
Osaka’s ascent to the top of the women’s game has made her a hot marketable commodity for the world’s top brands, with some estimates that she stands to make more than $15 million in endorsements alone this year.
She already has deals with Japanese airline All Nippon Airways, car manufacturer Nissan and watch company Citizen, among others.