Research by Find Betting Sites showcased a list of the top 100 highest paid athletes, but amongst them were just two women. Naomi Osaka however was one of them. The 23 year old tennis player has been on the world stage of tennis for just about three years, following her dramatic victory over tennis legend Serena Williams.
According to research by betting website FindBettingSites, in 2021, the top 100 highest paid athletes made more money than ever, and many individuals across various sports broke records as individuals and for their respective sports, by securing crazy salaries and winnings, sports deals and selling their business ventures. Naomi Osaka however places at a respectable place in the top half of this so-called leader board, by earning a total of $60 million. This is a huge sum of money, and placing at number 12 on the list is a great achievement for Naomi Osaka, as she tied with gold legend Tiger Woods, and actually surpassed a few of the men’s tennis stars such as Novak Djokovic as well as Rafael Nadal. Whereas last year, Naomi Osaka placed 29th on the list, nearly breaking into the top 10 this year is a serious achievement for her as a sportsperson and as a woman.
What is interesting about Naomi Osaka is how she has veered into activism, as well as heavily voicing the importance of mental health. Noami Osaka has made quite a few controversial moves throughout her career over the past few years, and whereas some may have expected this to hurt her earnings, she is currently proving these haters wrong. To protect her mental health, Naomi Osaka said she would skip out on some media obligations of the French Open, and when she was told she would have to pay a $15’000 fine, we actually withdrew from the tournament. Arguably, some are of the belief that we should treat mental health the same way we treat physical health; so if a tennis player has a tough time or personal issues which are affecting their mental health, and potentially ability to perform, they should treat this the same way they would a broken leg.
Alongside other examples of activism, some may say this wouldn’t make her a good endorsement partner for many firms, as it may bring forth controversy and other problems which may hurt their profits. However, Naomi Osaka had 15 endorsement partners this past summer, and since then, this number has grown to over 20 endorsment partners since last summer. For some this may be a good sign in regard to social media criticism and celebrities as well as athletes being their authentic selves. Clearly, whereas some of the social media criticism may have been quite harsh, and the controversy may have been loud, Naomi Osaka’s rise to the elite amongst athletes is just beginning and still gaining momentum – even though she is already placed highly amongst the top 100 highest paid athletes.
It may be quite refreshing to see an athlete, especially a young, fresh and successful one be so open about mental health, and be paving a way for more women to be high earners in the world of sports. And with her recent track record of sports victories, controversies and more, seeing her still gain endorsement partners and remaining one of sports’ most marketable stars means that her best days as an athlete as well as a brand ambassador are still ahead of her. Hopefully we will see more athletes open about social or mental health issues for the betterment of the sport.