Naomi Osaka isn’t the only Osaka to be linked with the four-time Major winner’s tennis gear. Osaka worked with her sister, Mari Osaka, to design a new aesthetic for her Yonex Ezone racquet and bag in time for the Silicon Valley Classic, a WTA 500 event in San Jose. And it was the sisters’ mother, Tamaki, who served as a muse in the form of a childhood memory.
When starting the design process with the Yonex research and development team, the two sisters were inspired by their childhood, when their mother visualized the duo as dragons, representing great power, luck and strength. .
Mari then started drawing a dragon and discovered that a spirit spider lily would complete the drawing. And since the spider lily also represents strength and beauty because “the power of a woman is that she can combine both,” she says, it was only natural to work both in the same artistic visualization.
“Dragons represent an unwavering fighting spirit,” Mari says. “I hope the racquet gives Naomi strength and confidence every time she steps onto the court, even when I’m not with her.”
With the dragon and lily compounded, Mari added gold and purple to complete the look.
“My sister and I have always talked about designing a racquet and seeing it come to life is really special,” says Naomi. “The design is so detailed and unique.”
Naomi makes her debut with the racquet in San Jose and plans to use it in Toronto, Cincinnati and New York at the US Open, where she is a two-time champion.
“I’m so excited to finally be able to use the Ezone and the Osaka bag in competition,” she said.
A unique visual aesthetic – a standard for Yonex, which has sponsored Naomi since her youth and has offered previous Osaka-specific designs, though none as complex as the current iteration – is layered over seventh generation Ezone racquet technology. While Naomi uses the Osaka Ezone 98 with the Polytour Strike 125 string, the Osaka Ezone racquet will be available August 25 in 98, 100, 100L and 100SL options.
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The same racquet aesthetic makes its way to a much larger canvas on the Osaka Pro Series bag, available in six- and nine-racquet sizes.
“It was an amazing experience bringing my and Naomi’s vision to life with the Yonex team,” says Mari. “I really enjoyed the process and hope everyone who uses our racquet finds their inner strength to play their best.”