On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore their routines, schedules, habits and day in the life.
Ever since her launch into sports superstardom in 2018, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka has always been extremely open about the importance of mental health and prioritising her wellbeing over anything else.
The 2018 US Open Women’s Singles final, held on 8 September 2018, was a historic one. On one hand, you had Serena Williams, a dominant champion who was already an established legend in the tennis world. It was also her first US Open since giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., in September 2017.
On the other hand, you had Osaka, a relatively unknown player who became the first Japanese player to participate in a Grand Slam women’s singles final. Although Osaka was raised in the United States, she was born in Osaka and her parents had decided from an early age that she would go on to represent Japan in tennis.
Osaka went on to defeat Williams in straight sets, 6–2, 6–4, but what should have been one of the greatest moments of her life was marred in controversy. Williams and the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, had several arguments during the match, and after that match, when the trophy presentation commenced, there was a lot of booing from the crowd. This led to Osaka covering her face and crying while Williams tried to console her.”
“You can easily get depressed,” she admitted in an interview with Teen Vogue shortly after beating Williams in 2018. “Usually, if you play sports, you think that one match or one game is very important, and when you lose it, you think your whole world is over. I can see how easily that can turn.”
In 2021 at the French Open, Osaka announced that she would not be attending her mandatory press events, which led to a $15,000 fine. She withdrew from the tournament shortly afterwards, citing her mental health and wellbeing as a priority.
“Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety,” Osaka wrote in her withdrawal statement. “So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self‑care and skip the press conferences. I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.”
Growing up being [labeled] ‘the quiet one’ puts you in a box and, even worse, makes you stand out when all you want is to blend in. But now I try to embrace and own it.Naomi Osaka Is Playing The Long Game | Women’s Health
Naomi Osaka’s training routine & diet
On a typical training day, when Naomi Osaka wakes up the first thing she does is drink a breakfast smoothie prepared by her strength & conditioning coach, Yutaka Nakamura, which is made up of kale, spinach, coconut water, and kiwi. She’ll then have something to eat like rye bread with smoked salmon and avocado.
After breakfast, she’s off to the courts for practice. One constant thing in her morning routine is music. “I always start and end my workout with music,” she told Us Weekly. “It keeps me focused and keeps me motivated for what’s next.” Osaka also uses music to help her with her anxiety. “Music calms me, it silences the noise that won’t help my game,” she told Teen Vogue, revealing that the regular artists in her rotation include Beyonce, Rihanna and Saweetie. “For me, music is inspiring and uplifting.”
In an interview with Japanese newspaper The Mainichi, Nakamura who has been working with the Grand Slam champion since June 2020, described a typical daily training schedule for Osaka:
Her daily schedule basically includes eating breakfast, warming up for an hour from 9 a.m., playing tennis for an hour and a half and training for two hours. During tournaments, we limit training so that her performance is not affected by exhaustion from training. But since we have time until the next match during this off-season, I can place a load on her that could make her too tired to move the following day.Center court with Naomi Osaka’s trainer: How a star copes with the pandemic | The Mainichi
An interesting highlight in Nakamura’s interview, and something that might point to Osaka’s sustained success over the past few years, is that the tennis player is good at scheduling breaks in her training routine.
“Based on my experience, players can rest if they have the sense of giving it their all when they practice and play,” he explained. She can endure quite intense exercises in terms of quality and quantity, and train strictly for two hours up to a certain extent. That’s why we have to have her rest when she is on break.
After her training sessions, Osaka will usually work with her physiotherapist Natsuko Mogi to help with recovery. In addition to physio, she will also do a lot of stretching and massages, as well as use the Hyperice recovery tool and the Normatec compression boots as part of her recovery routine.
For lunch, Osaka will usually grab something from the healthy restaurant chain, Sweetgreen, at 2pm. When it comes to her diet for the rest of the day, Osaka enjoys snacking on onigiris with umeboshi (Japanese rice balls), a big bowl of fresh berries with melon, or mixed nuts. “I also enjoy drinking BODYARMOR LYTE because the potassium really helps me stay hydrated,” she told PureWow in 2021.
At around 6-7pm, Osaka will have dinner, smoked salmon and avocado toast is one of her favourite meals to end the day. Simplicity is a key trait to Osaka’s daily diet – before matches she likes to eat plain pasta with olives or chicken. Then she’ll head off to bed early and read a book before she goes to sleep (“I love to get into bed with a good book”). In 2020 she was reading Open, the autobiography by retired tennis player Andre Agassi.
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