Naomi Osaka’s Boyfriend Cordae ‘Felt Really Out of Place’ at the 2019 U.S. Open: ‘It’s Not My Sport’

Naomi Osaka’s domination of women’s tennis is more unbelievable with each passing year. At just 23, she already has four Grand Slam titles. Her reign shows no signs of stopping, with her latest title victory occurring just this month. While other top-ranked competitors like Bianca Andreescu still have a chance to shine, Osaka plays like she’s already a star.

At first, she was an enigmatic teenager coming seemingly out of nowhere to unseat the great Serena Williams. Now, older and more experienced, Osaka is coming out of her shell. Part of that may be the boost she gets from her media-savvy boyfriend and Grammy-nominated rapper, Cordae.

Naomi Osaka continues to dominate every Grand Slam

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Osaka obviously doesn’t win every tournament she enters. According to Lob and Smash, however, she continues to take home the trophy every time she makes it to the finals. Once she’s locked in, she literally becomes the best women’s tennis player on earth. According to CBS Sports, many of her matches against top ranked foes like Williams usually involve spending the first half finding her footing. Once she’s there, few opponents can best her.

Osaka’s latest win at the 2021 Australian Open followed a similar pattern to her last three, the New York Times reports. Early game nerves kept the match with Jennifer Brady tense in the early going. Eventually, some mix of fatigue and nerves got to Brady, who netted a short forehand. Osaka, who rarely wavers after finding her footing, capitalized on the mistake and dominated the rest of the set.

Naomi Osaka’s boyfriend, Cordae, is “her biggest fan” but felt out of place at the 2019 U.S. Open

One of the tournaments Osaka didn’t win still did a great deal to establish her spot atop the world standings: the 2019 U.S. Open. There, Osaka’s then-new boyfriend, Cordae, was experiencing the unfamiliar world of a Grand Slam tennis crowd. He opened up about the awkward moment, and his eventual dive as a fan into his girlfriend’s profession, in a GQ profile.

“My elementary school, middle school, high school was 99.9 percent Black. Kids who look like me,” Cordae said. “It just felt really weird for me being in that space. That was my first tennis match ever.”

It was here that he realized the gravity of Osaka’s greatness in her sport. He knew her on a personal level, but wasn’t particularly familiar with tennis beyond the famous names like Venus and Serena Williams.

Osaka was clearly someone important, appearing at Cordae’s performances and developing an easy rapport with the hip hop star. It took seeing her play live for the Grammy-nominated rapper to become fully aware that he’s dating one of the top athletes in the world.

Are Naomi Osaka and Cordae still together?

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After adjusting to the different vibes of the tennis world, Cordae kept coming back to events to support Osaka. At that pivotal U.S. Open, he saw Osaka tear through the other hyped-up young star, Coco Gauff. It opened up a new world to him, that he has since adjusted to. He’s become a go-to for reaction shots to his girlfriend’s big moments on the court.

He wasn’t there for Osaka’s fourth Grand Slam title, earlier this month. He wasn’t able to because of previous commitments. The pair are still close, however. He jumped on his social media accounts to celebrate her win as soon as it happened, reports. When schedules don’t conflict, he’ll likely be in his usual enthusiastic form, delighting television audiences with his obvious investment in Osaka’s matches.