In the three years since her historic 2018 U.S. Open win against her childhood idol Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka has often been the subject of headlines. Soft spoken and often camera-shy but firm in her convictions, the tennis superstar most recently made headlines for refusing to sit for press interviews during this year’s French Open. The move incurred a hefty fine and prompted ire from some fans and players alike, but was generally applauded by tennis outsiders, who praised Osaka for prioritizing her mental health. Now, she is letting the public in on her own terms.
Netflix released a trailer today for “Naomi Osaka,” a three-part documentary series directed by rising documentarian Garrett Bradley about the international tennis sensation. Bradley recently made waves when her second documentary feature, “Time,” was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary earlier this year. The collaboration, shot over the last two years, is sure to be more than a standard sports doc.
Here’s the official synopsis, per Netflix:
“This intimate three-part series takes us inside the life of one of the world’s best tennis players, Naomi Osaka. With unprecedented access, we follow Osaka during a historic two years in which she works on her game but also begins to find her voice. Whether she’s defending her grand slam titles — while wearing masks in defense of Black lives — mourning the unexpected loss of mentor Kobe Bryant, or finding her independence, the challenges Naomi faces on a personal level begin to align with those in the public sphere. Empathetic in its approach, the series chronicles Osaka’s hectic training and travel schedule, explores the layers of pressure she is under and reveals how she spends her time off the court hanging with her closest family and friends.”
The series will also follow Osaka as she further explores her Haitian roots as well as her connection to Japan, the country for which she plays.
“The series is about Naomi’s journey, within a snapshot of her life, but it’s also about life’s purpose, about personal worth, about the courage that it takes to allow one’s personal values to inform their work and vice versa,” said Bradley in a statement accompanying the trailer. “More than anything, I’d hope people can feel the power of empathy and to feel encouraged to take chances in life, perhaps especially in moments where the stakes can feel impossibly high.”
Netflix will release all three episodes of “Naomi Osaka” on July 16. Check out the rousing first trailer below.