Osaka, who is featured on the cover of Allure magazine, revealed in an interview the driving force behind her will to succeed.
“My parents weren’t exactly the richest, so what am I going to do?” she told Allure. “I’m not really the smartest. I’ve been playing tennis my whole life, you know? So there’s nothing I can imagine myself doing. It’s either I have to be the best or I’m going to be homeless.”
Osaka, 21, said she first started to play tennis when she was 3 years old after her family moved to New York from Japan. While she strives to be the greatest player the sport has ever seen she doesn’t consider herself to be better than anyone else.
“There’s a certain point where talent isn’t useful anymore, and from there you’ve just got to want to win more than everyone else,” she said. “I think that’s something I noticed from an early age, so that’s what I’ve been fortunate with. I mean, the way that I grew up and the circumstances that sort of surrounded me kind of forced me to think that way.”
Osaka started the year winning the Australian Open but has failed to make the final in the French Open and Wimbledon since then. Osaka hopes to defend her championship title at the U.S. Open next month.