Tennis star Naomi Osaka exploring cryptocurrency opportunities

The defending US Open champion says her interest was sparked by the noise around Dogecoin

The growing interest around cryptocurrencies has captured the attention of defending US Open champion Naomi Osaka, who has been exploring where she can invest in the space.

Part of her interest was spurred by all the noise around Dogecoin, the digital token that became famous for being the first memecoin to start out as a joke.

“I was actually just talking with my agent about cryptocurrencies,” Osaka, 23, said. “I know that online, everything is getting bigger. I remember reading about Dogecoin … there is going to be something new and interesting that is going to pop up.”

The continuous stream of conversations around Dogecoin, especially on her Twitter feed, stoked her interest even before her agent approached her with the idea to invest, Osaka said.

She has displayed a keen business sense and a willingness to invest her own money in a way other tennis stars rarely do this early in their career. That includes investments in salad chain Sweetgreen and the North Carolina Courage – a women’s professional football team.

She also unveiled her own non-fungible token last week.

“As athletes, our career isn’t that long, and so I just like being very smart with it,” Osaka said.

“I like when my agent tells me there are opportunities. And in a weird way, I like to fail a little bit because it makes you understand what didn’t work and why.”

What about the stock market Reddit bandwagon that has lit up internet forums over the past year?

“My boyfriend really loves to wake up in the morning and check his stuff,” Osaka said. “I am personally not a person that does that, but I can see the appeal.”

Osaka has quickly shot up the ranks of the highest-paid female athletes, as her Grand Slam success and a willingness to speak up for social justice causes have also attracted brands seeking partnerships.

She spoke at an event promoting Swiss watchmaker TAG Heuer, which signed her as a brand ambassador earlier this year.

Tennis players have frequently been sought out to drive interest in high-end watches: Roger Federer has long been associated with Rolex; Novak Djokovic paired up with Hublot before this year’s US Open. Rafael Nadal is known for playing matches wearing his Richard Mille – a brand whose prices can top $1 million.

Osaka is back at a Grand Slam event after pulling out of the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year. After her withdrawal in Paris, she announced she had suffered long bouts of depression.

Osaka, who has won a Grand Slam tournament in each of the past four years, said she would not mind turning off all the attention once in a while and going incognito.

“I like to people-watch, and so I just like to walk around,” she said of what she would like to do if she ever found time in New York. “I love Bryant Park, so I get a tea and sit there for a couple hours.”

Updated: August 31st 2021, 8:24 AM