The face of the revolution: images of tennis star Naomi Osaka of Japan that emerged when she was 16 have given new meaning to her photos
What was initially a casual snap of Naomi Osaka, then 16, adorned with a note to her mother about how happy she was has given a whole new meaning to the caption.
The tournament photographer was working at the IBM Open US Open when she had the chance to snap the rookie of the year winner looking elegant in a satin dress and with her dark hair in braids.
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For the uninitiated, a strip tease is said to be a female stripper’s “share your grind” routine which is sometimes accompanied by a selfie or the singer Rihanna’s latest raunchy visuals.
A man shares his grind. Photograph: KENT GLUSKIN/REX/Shutterstock
The fresh-faced Osaka initially didn’t quite understand the image being sent around the tennis world after the picture was shared on Twitter by the tournament’s chief photographer, Kent Ginskins.
Kent Ginskins (@KentGinskins) Naomi Osaka currently 6th in WTA top-10 rankings, will be looked up to by us as she has shown some great game too.
When the team realised the Japanese player didn’t quite get the joke, Ginskins quickly shared an amended version, with Osaka’s unmistakable face being used instead of the simply a slogan before Twitter picked up on it and the controversy began.
Kent Ginskins (@KentGinskins) We’re working hard on a subtitling … If you look at her parents side you can see what is happening.
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Many people were curious as to why in the name of god – or as Naomi herself succinctly put it – the issue was such a “controversy”.
She later tweeted to explain: “We’re working on a subtitling,” or better yet – “trash it”.
She then clarified the incident in an interview with CNN, saying: “I would definitely say, as a first time championship female, it’s something I would not want to be a part of. But it’s not like, ‘Yes, I did it, it’s okay’ or ‘That’s fine.’ I want to be like ‘No, I’m not doing it’, or at least make it known that it is definitely not what I am going to be doing.”
Naomi Osaka in her photo before the controversy erupted. Photograph: Courtesy of the 2018 US Open
She also agreed with those who believed: “At the time, we thought it was just fun. But I know I’ve had other people say that something like that isn’t good for the image of what tennis is about.”
Naomi Osaka (@Naomi_Osaka7) I think @ESPN reached out about this, and @TennisNetwork does not approve of the usage of the image I just shared on social media. https://t.co/mB8r40W1EI
In a statement posted to Twitter, US Open director David Brewer said: “US Open senior picture department is used to working with top young talent, such as Naomi Osaka, but any indiscretion we hear about will be quickly and strongly addressed.
“Her image and image sharing platforms need to be built from a thoughtful foundation and only the highest moral and ethical standards will be tolerated. We need to always remain relevant, but in light of the image scandal of Serena Williams, we just don’t see this as a way forward.”
Naomi Osaka (@Naomi_Osaka7) Because I never did it as we thought. pic.twitter.com/NqSBLgNxBe