US Open champion Naomi Osaka opened up on her music tastes after capturing her maiden major title in Flushing Meadows, playing two new albums - Queen and Kamikaze from artists Nicki Minaj and Eminem - in heavy rotation.
David Kane
September 12, 2018

NEW YORK, NY, USA It's never all that clear what blasts through a player's headphones when they march out onto court for a match, but US Open champion Naomi Osaka lent us all an earbud after winning her first Grand Slam title.

Read More: Naomi Osaka's Breakthrough Game (New York Times)

“I listened to Nicki Minaj‘s new album [Queen],” Osaka told People Magazine. “And then Eminem dropped a new album [Kamikaze] so I was switching between those two. I’m genuinely more into hip-hop and rap."

Osaka discussed her Minaj fandom after her second round win over Julia Glushko, admitting an obsession with the #QueenRadio meme entitled, "To Freedom!"

"I'm sorry. That's too funny to me. People will use someone running, and then play, 'To Freedom!' 

"Everyone that doesn't know what this means, it'll be, like, 'what are we talking about?'"

The 20-year-old is also an ardent Beyoncé fan, naming the singer as her favorite during her appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show this week.

Before playing the US Open, Osaka and sister Mari saw Beyoncé and husband Jay-Z in concert when they came to Maryland:

"The sisters had been planning this outing for months, but the World TeamTennis match was blowing right through the opening act," wrote Brock Larmer in a prescient feature for the New York Times ahead of fortnight. "Earlier this year, when Osaka thought she might miss Beyoncé’s tour, she tweeted: 'Tell me why Beyoncé decides to have a concert in Miami at the same time as the US Open. I’m legit gonna cry.' 

"As the match dragged on, Osaka huddled with her personal team to discuss the situation. Her trainer warned against staying out late and dancing on her sore leg just two days before the summer’s first hardcourt tournament began. Her father agreed. Osaka and her sister, conferring quietly in Japanese so the others wouldn’t overhear, made the final decision together.

"On this night in Washington, as the World TeamTennis carnival ended, Osaka slipped into the locker room and emerged moments later wearing a chocolate-colored pantsuit, her hair unleashed Beyoncé-esque. The Kastles’ owner was holding a team meeting on court, but the two sisters strode toward the exit without looking back."