Tennis news: Naomi Osaka spotted in the background of Rafael Nadal photo, US Open, reaction
All eyes were on Rafael Nadal at the 2006 US Open as the Spaniard headed to the quarter-finals.
But a photo of the now 22-time Grand Slam champion from his run at Flushing Meadows has been thrust back into the spotlight and it has nothing to do with him.
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The photo, showing Nadal training in his famous old long shorts, had the tennis world buzzing with the fan sitting in the front row hanging over the ledge.
The eight-year-old fan is none other than four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka.
An eagle-eyed fan made the remarkable discovery in the snap of 20-year-old Nadal and it quickly went viral with the tennis world losing him.
Osaka clearly took big advice watching the Spaniard go to work on the Arthur Ashe Stadium as 12 years later she hoisted the US Open trophy above her head on the pitch.
Social media users couldn’t believe the discovery and quickly shared the image on the internet.
“Who you spend your time watching (understanding) matters. Who you spend your time listening to is important. This rare photo of an 8-year-old Naomi Osaka watching Rafael Nadal practice during USO 2006 says it all. She understudied one of the best from an early age,” one user wrote.
“OMG this is the best picture ever,” added another.
Osaka pulled the pin on Wimbledon following the extraordinary decision by the ATP Tour and WTA Tour to void all ranking points from the tournament.
The ATP and WTA tours took away ranking points at Wimbledon after the All England Club banned Russian and Belarus players in response to the Ukraine invasion.
But the former world number one is preparing for another US Open charge as she returns from an Achilles injury.
Naomi Osaka confirmed in San Jose. Good to see her planning a full schedule for the US Hardcourt summer too: San Jose, Toronto, Cincinnati and then the US Open,” tweeted tennis journalist Jose Morgado.