Naomi Osaka will debut a new logo on her kit at the Australian Open after becoming the first tennis star in Workday's sports portfolio

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Meredith Cash
·3 min read
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In an exclusive interview, Osaka told Insider she partnered with Workday after company leadership watched her practice: "We struck it off right away." Naomi Osaka/Workday
  • Naomi Osaka will debut a new logo on her kit at next month's Australian Open.

  • The 23-year-old superstar is Workday's newest brand ambassador and its first sponsored athlete in the tennis sphere.

  • Osaka told Insider she chose to partner with the enterprise software company for its people, its excellence in the space, and her "shared values" with leadership.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

It's been more than four months since we last saw Naomi Osaka play tennis, and she may look a little different than the last time she took the court.

The 23-year-old superstar will debut a new logo on her kit at next month's Australian Open after becoming the newest brand ambassador for Workday, the enterprise software platform. Osaka is the first tennis star to forge a relationship with the brand, whose athlete portfolio, to this point, has solely featured golfers, including Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, and Lauren Kim.

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Naomi Osaka. AP Photo/Seth Wenig

But that doesn't matter much to Osaka, for whom business partnerships are "all about the people."

"They came to watch one of my practices last year, and we had lunch after - we struck it off right away," Osaka told Insider. "I've since connected with [CEO] Aneel [Bhusri], and I love his passion for business, sports, and the community."

"I also like to work with brands that are first in class in their given category," she added. "And that's Workday for sure."

Henceforth, Osaka will wear the Workday emblem - its name in lowercase typeface topped with a thin arc - on her chest while competing. The symbol will sit just underneath Nissin Food Groups' logo, her sponsor since 2016, and replace the image of Japanese airline All Nippon Airways, or ANA, on her kits.

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Naomi Osaka at the 2020 US Open. Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

Upon announcing her new partnership with Workday, the three-time Grand Slam champion - who has used her tremendous platform to shed led on social and racial justice initiatives - stressed the importance of having "shared values" with the brand. She's vowed to "strive to do the right thing" alongside the company, which has committed to supporting her "Play Academy" initiative that works to help young girls stay active in sports.

"They put a huge emphasis on diversity and equal representation," Osaka said of Workday. "They've asked me to be a strategic advisor on certain issues, and I'm really humbled that they value my opinion."

But for the time being, her work in the boardroom will have to wait. Osaka is already Down Under preparing for the Australian Open, where she won her second Grand Slam title back in 2019. This year's event marks her first appearance since winning the US Open last September, but don't expect the COVID-prolonged hiatus to impact how Osaka plays.

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Naomi Osaka poses with her trophy after winning the 2019 Australian Open. REUTERS/Edgar Su

"Each time I play, it's about being in the moment," Osaka told Insider. "Every game is a new one, and what you did the time before, good or bad, cannot impact how you walk onto the court in the moment."

"I'm really excited to start playing this year," she added. "And I'm excited for Workday to be a part of my personal journey in 2021 and beyond."

Read the original article on Insider