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When Osaka First Met Nadal

Long before Naomi Osaka came face-to-face with Rafa Nadal she had his back.

Tennis super sleuth Mia unearthed a special piece of tennis history posting this photo of a young Naomi Osaka sitting in the front row watching the young Rafa Nadal practice during the 2006 US Open. Yes, that's Naomi sitting right behind the "J" in the JPMorgan signage on the blue back wall.

Novak Djokovic

Osaka and her family lived on Long Island when she was a kid before the family moved to Florida. Osaka has recalled visiting the US Open as a child and dreaming of someday playing on the Flushing Meadows blue hard courts.

The two-time US Open champion made her dreams come true.

Thirteen years after the practice photo was taken, Osaka visited Nadal at the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy in Mallorca where she trained. 

Photo credit: Rafa Nadal Academy