Naomi Osaka has received a warm reception on her return to Haiti following a hugely successful 2018 season.
The 21-year-old climbed to WTA World No.5 and lifted her first major honor when she won the US Open in September.
Born in Osaka to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, she visited her birthland soon after winning the Grand Slam event but has now flown to Haiti following a government invitation.
Initially, she was enigmatic over her plans, posting a cryptic message on Instagram indicating that she was going to a secret location.
Soon, however, the cat was out of the bag, with social media going crazy over her arrival in the Caribbean, where she was treated to a warm welcome.
“Happy to receive in Haiti the US Open Champion @naomi_osaka_ responding to the Haitian government invitation,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Edomond Bocchit tweeted. “She is an inspiration for the young Haitian tennis players. Welcome, Bienvenue Naomi.”
Meanwhile, at an organised event, Minister of Sports Edwing Charles said: “The success of Naomi Osaka must challenge us as leaders to provide a better infrastructure for young people. Parents also have their role to play in motivating their children to become good at sports, like Naomi’s father did at a young age.”
Charles gave the tennis superstar a tour of the Olympic Sports centre, where she appeared in front of hundreds of children and was presented with a plaque to commemorate her achievements.
Among the children that Osaka had the opportunity to meet were Regna and Christelle, who had taken part in the Special Olympics of 2015 in Los Angeles.