Namoi Osaka, four-time Grand Slam champion, reminds us that sports are more than just a game. At 23 years old, Osaka has cemented herself as one of the elite tennis players in the world. And with that status, Osaka has constantly shown that she wants her impact to be bigger than tennis.
Osaka announced Monday morning via Instagram that her “Play Academy” with Nike and Laureus Sport For Good will be expanding to two new locations, Los Angeles and Haiti. Osaka wrote, “Join me in creating more opportunities for girls in Los Angeles to access and benefit from play and sport. If you’re an organization or know of one, that’s passionate about empowering girls through sport, apply for a grant at the link in my bio.”
This academy’s initiative is providing opportunities through grants and capacity-building training for community organizations to help aid girls’ access and participation in sports.
Born in Japan to a Haitian father, Osaka is giving back to her roots in hope to inspire the next generation of girl athletes. Osaka told PEOPLE.com that this was a no-brainer for her. “While it was not easy, my family was dedicated to helping me get the access I needed to reach my goals. But unfortunately, not all girls have the same opportunities that I did,” she said.
Motives like this are not meant for a short-lasting impact. This is an opportunity for girls across the globe to have resources and hope for generations. A majority of professional athletes play their respective sport for their own legacy, but very few go beyond that. Osaka lets us know that she understands that not everyone is lucky enough to be born into supportive situations. And she is here to help.