In Honor of Her Return to the Court, Here are Our 5 Favorite Photos of Tennis Star Naomi Osaka in Malibu

Following a break from the sport and the birth of her daughter in July, the athlete plans to compete again in the new year.
Naomi Osaka stands before the ocean in a white cropped tee and her curly hair parted to one side.

Naomi Osaka was photographed by Yu Tsai in Malibu, Calif.

Japanese professional tennis player Naomi Osaka is gearing up for a return to the court following a year-long hiatus. The 26-year-old last took to the tennis court on tour last September, then took a break this season to welcome her first child. Having given birth in July, the athlete is preparing to return come January, likely participating in the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season.

In honor of her return, we’re reminiscing on another momentous occasion in her multi-faceted career. Fresh off of a US Open title in 2020, Osaka made her SI Swimsuit debut in a big way: She graced the cover of the 2021 issue in a fabulous photo taken by photographer Yu Tsai in Malibu, Calif. 

The incredible athlete made her mark in those photos, posing in a series of glamorous swimsuits in the golden West Coast sunlight. For Osaka, “it [felt] like a dream,” she said while on set. Having seen “so many incredible women grace [the] cover” while growing up, she understood the immensity of the moment.

And she was up for the challenge, too. The former world No. 1 made an impression on the beaches of California, as she is likely to do in her return to the court. Here are a few of our favorites from the trip.

Naomi Osaka lays on the sand in front of the ocean in a light green bikini.
Naomi Osaka poses before the ocean with her hands on her hips wearing a black and mesh one-shoulder one-piece.
Naomi Osaka poses in a black bikini and silver necklace with her arm above her head.
Naomi Osaka lays on the sand in a tan one-shoulder one-piece swimsuit.
Naomi Osaka lays in the shallow water in a sheer white dress.

Now through Nov. 1, 100% of SI Swimsuit’s portion of proceeds from cover prints purchased here will be donated to the Maui Strong Fund, which is helping to support the people and places of Maui affected by the recent wildfires.

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Martha Zaytoun


Martha Zaytoun is a Lifestyle & Trending News writer for SI Swimsuit. Before joining the team, Martha worked on the editorial board of the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine and on the editorial team at Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines in North Carolina. When not working, Martha loves to watercolor and oil paint, run or water ski. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a huge Fighting Irish fan.