A deeply reported, revealing biography of tennis phenomenon and activist Naomi Osaka, telling the untold story behind her Grand Slam-winning career, her headline-making advocacy for racial justice and mental health, and the challenges of a life in the international spotlight. Naomi Osaka is everywhere, but how did she get there?
Most tennis fans were introduced to Naomi Osaka as they watched her win the 2018 US Open final in an unforgettably controversial and dramatic victory over her idol, Serena Williams. Since then, Osaka has galvanized the tennis world--and gained attention across the culture--not only by winning three more Grand Slams, but by finding her voice.
Her extraordinary talent and unique blend of power and vulnerability have propelled her to the top of her sport and onto the front page of newspapers and magazines worldwide. She became the highest-paid female athlete in history and one of the most discussed, at the cultural crossroads on myriad social issues.
But until now, the story of the Haitian Japanese American Osaka family’s journey across the world to follow their tennis dreams—and how their youngest daughter found her power off the court—has remained little known. It is a story unlike any other, and Ben Rothenberg’s biography not only shows where Osaka came from but also where she's going as she returns to competitive tennis after a year on maternity leave. Through a riveting exploration of the ways Osaka has changed the game on and off the court, Rothenberg details the incredible impact Osaka has had in the arenas of sports, media, business, social justice, and mental health.
About the Author
Ben Rothenberg is a sportswriter from Washington, D.C. He has covered Naomi Osaka around the world since she emerged onto the WTA Tour in 2014, both in print for the New York Times (where he covered tennis from 2011-2022) and on his podcast, No Challenges Remaining. His work has focused on the intersections of social and cultural issues in tennis. His longform writing has been published in outlets including Slate and Racquet. He has alsoappeared frequently as a tennis expert on international networks such as CNN, the BBC, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. With an eye for finding stories and dogged determination as a reporter, Rothenberg has been called "the most powerful tennis journalist in the world" and is one of the leading voices in the sport—including on X, formerly known as Twitter, where he has more than 150,000 followers.
"Offers an insightful lookinto the unconventional life of this Gen-Z tennis star. Sports fans will devour details about Osaka’s coaches and tournament matches on her way to becoming the number one ranked female tennis player in the world." —Booklist (STARRED REVIEW)
“A comprehensive look at the career of a young tennis star.” —Kirkus
"Rothenberg provides exciting accounts of key matches and a sensitive treatment of Osaka’s public battle with depression... Osaka’s fans will lap this up."—Publishers Weekly “Ben Rothenberg worked alongside me for many years as a contributor to The New York Times. He is one of the best reporters in the global game of tennis, and he proves it once again with this deep dive into the multicultural phenomenon that is Naomi Osaka.”—Christopher Clarey, New York Times bestselling author of The Master
“Ben Rothenberg’s myriad revelations will inspire re-evaluations of this most reluctant superstar. With uncommon reporting, he examines what drove Osaka andwhat drove her to despair, and in doing so he articulates how she has grown, changed, and changed the game around her.”—Mary Carillo, NBC Sports and HBO’s Real Sports
“A compelling, comprehensive biography of one of the most fascinating athletes of the past decade. Rothenberg provides essential context for both her on-courtsuccesses and off-court decisions. Even as someone who has covered Osaka’s entire career, I learned a lot.” —Tumaini Carayol, The Guardian
"What is the price of superstardom? Rothenberg had a front-row seat for Naomi Osaka’s rise from tennis curiosity to cultural icon and he beautifully captures the ups and downs of her riveting ride." —Karen Crouse, author of Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence