Tennis champ Naomi Osaka takes center court in Netflix doc series

Naomi Osaka Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Naomi Osaka is one of the best tennis players in the world, but she has been making headlines recently because she is not playing tennis. Osaka withdrew (opens in new tab) from recent major tournaments, citing mental health reasons. Now, fans can get a better look into Osaka’s journey with a new Netflix sports docuseries simply titled Naomi Osaka.

Osaka burst onto the tennis scene in 2018 when she won the U.S. Open, where her great play was partially overshadowed by a dispute between Serena Williams, who she played in the finals, and a line judge. Still, Osaka has gone on to win three more major titles and is among the highest paid female athletes in the world.

But, as most stories are, Osaka’s journey is far more interesting than the end result, as the trailer for the docuseries shows.

Directed by Academy Award-nominee Garrett Bradley (Time) and narrated by Osaka herself, the self-titled series looks at her upbringing as the daughter of a Haitian man and a Japanese woman, the pressure of becoming an overnight sensation, her role in activism and her attempt to figure out who she is beyond a tennis player.

Watch the trailer for Naomi Osaka below, which will debut all three of its episodes on Netflix on July 16.

Netflix had major success with streaming of the Michael Jordan docuseries The Last Dance in 2020. While Osaka’s career and impact on the culture is still new, especially compared to Jordan’s, Netflix likely is hoping to draw up a similar type of buzz for this latest mini series.

Beyond the documentary, Osaka — after withdrawing from the French Open and Wimbledon — is expected to participate in the Tokyo Olympics for her birth country of Japan.

Netflix, which is the leading streaming service in the world with more than 200 million subscribers, has evolved from the being a vast library of classic titles in its earliest days to the home of some of the most popular original movie and shows, including The Kissing Booth franchise, Fear Street, The Crown, Stranger Things and hundreds more.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).