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Osaka on Anxiety, Soothing Muse and Superpower

Naomi Osaka knows all about US Open electricity.

As a child, Osaka, then living with her family on Long Island, attended the US Open as a fan and dreamed about someday playing the Flushing Meadows major.

Next week, Osaka aims to defend a Grand Slam title for the first time at the US Open.

An explosive Osaka overwhelmed Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 to capture her second Australian Open championship in February becoming the first woman since Hall of Famer Monica Seles in the 1990s to win her first four Grand Slam finals.

In a new interview with Women's Health magazine, Osaka opens up on her anxiety, soothing muse to prepare her for matches and her secret "superpower." Here's an excerpt from Osaka's interview with Women's Health magazine.

On viewing her introspective nature as a superpower:

“Growing up being [labeled] ‘the quiet one’ puts you in a box and, even worse, makes you stand out when all you want is to blend in. But now I try to embrace and own it.”

On her journey with anxiety and depression:

“I hope I was able to help some people and for them to see that even athletes are still humans like the rest of us. And we all are dealing with something in our lives.”

On her ritual of listening to music––by artists including Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Saweetie––as she arrives to play a match:

“[It] helps dull my social anxiety. Music calms me, it silences the noise that won’t help my game. For me, music is inspiring and uplifting.”

On founding the skin-care company Kinlò, and the illuminating process of creating sun care “specifically for skin like [her] own”:

“I never imagined how eye-opening the statistics on skin cancer in Brown and Black skin would be. It wasn’t enough to make products that didn’t turn our dark skin white and didn’t have harsh chemicals. I also wanted to dispel the myth that just because you have dark skin and don’t burn means you don’t need to take care of and protect that skin.”

On how her business and philanthropic projects power up her mental health:

“The thought that a gesture, an activation, a program can impact and change a life, that’s really powerful to me. Of all the things I do, I find that when I am doing my best to help others, it’s most fulfilling.”

On being firmly rooted in the belief that life is bigger than tennis:

“Now more than ever I see that you can be more than just one thing. More than just someone who plays tennis.

Photo credit: Australian Open Facebook