'Naomi Osaka' portrays a young athlete wrestling with the weight of stardom

2 weeks ago 6
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(CNN)"Naomi Osaka" tackles a batch much than conscionable tennis, but this Netflix docuseries (really conscionable a 110-minute documentary sliced into 3 parts) works champion arsenic a model into the demands placed connected young athletes, and the pressures -- from idiosyncratic to governmental to selling -- that spell with it. On that level unsocial it's a winner, contempt a fewer faults.

Produced by LeBron James' institution (which is having a large week with this and "Space Jam"), the task surely benefits from timeliness, with Osaka having made headlines precocious for her basal against participating successful quality conferences and determination to withdraw from the French Open, citing her intelligence health.

That introspection is evident passim the documentary, directed by Garrett Bradley ("Time"), which chronicles a two-year agelong successful Osaka's hectic life, from winning the US Open astatine property 20 to losing the pursuing twelvemonth earlier seeking to reclaim it successful 2020.

    Along the way, Osaka -- who is of Japanese and Haitian ancestry -- began to find her dependable arsenic an activist, publicly taking a stand successful respect to the Black Lives Matter movement. She besides dealt with the grief of Kobe Bryant's tragic death, aft getting to cognize the Lakers prima arsenic a mentor to her.

      "Nobody truly knows each the sacrifices that you make," Osaka says during the archetypal installment, adding that "no 1 prepares you" for the level of attraction that comes with being thrust into the media spotlight.

      Naomi Osaka arsenic  seen successful  the Netflix docuseres.

      For Osaka, that means letting a camera unit tag on (an ironic choice, successful immoderate respects) arsenic she appears connected the "Ellen" show, participates successful photograph and manner shoots and sits done a "summit" of companies looking to perchance get into concern with her. That past series underscores the grade to which an jock similar Osaka becomes her ain "brand," with each the expectations and public-facing pressures associated with that.

      It could beryllium casual to disregard Osaka's complaints arsenic high-class problems, from maintaining her then-ranking arsenic the No. 1 subordinate successful the satellite to enduring questions from reporters -- a tiny price, seemingly, for the riches and different benefits associated with stardom.

      Yet what "Naomi Osaka" illustrates, rather effectively, are the tradeoffs associated with that, including the mode successful which Osaka, similar galore prodigies, experienced a far-from-carefree puerility that progressive untold hours grooming connected the tennis court.

        At times listening to Osaka grapple with her doubts and insecurities tin beryllium uncomfortable and intrusive, but that's revealing successful its ain way. Indeed, it's imaginable to envy each that she has and inactive consciousness sympathy for the sacrifices made successful bid to person it -- which, successful presumption of the points that "Naomi Osaka" intends to get across, is beauteous overmuch game, acceptable and match.

        "Naomi Osaka" premieres July 16 connected Netflix.

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