December 01, 2020 at 07:05 pm
Tokyo—Japan’s major-winning tennis player Naomi Osaka has welcomed a new manga comic-book series where she will star as a cartoon character in a magazine aimed at teenage girls.
“Unrivaled Naomi Tenka-ichi”, which will run in “Nakayosi” magazine from late December, was produced with the help of Osaka’s older sister, Mari. “Tenka-ichi” means “world number one” in Japanese.
“Growing up reading manga/watching anime was something that bonded me and my sister immensely so this is really exciting for both of us,” the three-time Grand Slam champion tweeted Sunday.
The new character, which depicts a doe-eyed Osaka with pink and purple hair and wearing a yellow visor, follows a storm of controversy over a sponsor’s cartoon image of her last year.
Noodle-maker Nissin apologised and withdrew the image, which showed Osaka with pale skin and light brown hair, after being accused of “white-washing” the Japanese-Haitian player.
Osaka, who has dislodged Serena Williams to be rated as the world’s highest earning female athlete, is a household name in Japan where she is the face of several leading brands.
Meanwhile, world number six Karolina Pliskova said Friday she had hired Sascha Bajin as her new coach for the 2021 season.
Pliskova published a photo on Facebook and Twitter featuring Bajin, fitness coach Azuz Simchich and a caption saying “Team Pliskova 2021”.
The 36-year-old German, Bajin led Naomi Osaka to back-to-back Grand Slam wins at the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open in 2019.
The 2018 WTA Coach of the Year has also worked with Serena Williams, Kristina Mladenovic and Dayana Yastremska.
Pliskova, the 2016 US Open finalist and former world number one, announced she had parted ways with coach Dani Valverdu, hired for 2020, earlier this month.
The 28-year-old Czech won her first tournament of the year in Brisbane and reached the final in Rome in September, but she failed to get beyond the round of 32 at the season’s three Grand Slams.