- Naomi Osaka took in her first WNBA game in New York ahead of the 2021 US Open.
- The tennis star said she was “in love” after watching Friday’s Liberty-Mercury matchup in Brooklyn.
- Osaka wore a Sabrina Ionescu jersey while warming up for her US Open match on Monday.
Naomi Osaka may be in New York to play tennis, but she was spotted on a different kind of court ahead of the 2021 US Open.
On Friday, the four-time Grand Slam champion sat courtside at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for a WNBA game between the New York Liberty and the Phoenix Mercury Friday night.
She watched as the Liberty’s Natasha Howard dominated the paint, league legend Diana Taurasi drained five three-pointers, New York guard Sabrina Ionescu approached a triple-double, and Phoenix’s Skylar Diggins-Smith exploded for 27 points and seven assists.
—New York Liberty (@nyliberty) August 28, 2021
It was enough to win Osaka over.
“Went to my first WNBA game,” she tweeted Friday night. “I am in love and constantly inspired by strong, athletic, and beautiful women 😌🥰.
Three days later, and just hours ahead of her first-round match at the US Open, Osaka was seen wearing a seafoam-green Ionescu Liberty jersey while warming up on the practice courts.
—ESPN (@espn) August 30, 2021
Osaka has established herself as a proponent of women’s sports, both through her play on the tennis court and through her investments. She’s a co-owner of a National Women’s Soccer League team, the two-time champion North Carolina Courage, and she’s invested in and partnered with several companies that promote women’s sports and athletes.
Perhaps an ownership stake in a WNBA team could be the next addition to Osaka’s diverse investment portfolio. Money seems to be no object for the reigning US Open champion, who earned $60 million from May 2020 to May 2021, per Forbes.
Osaka, the WTA’s third-ranked player, begins her quest to defend her title in Flushing Meadows on Monday night at 7:30 p.m. ET, when she’ll take on Czechia’s Marie Bouzková at center court in Arthur Ashe Stadium.