Mastercard building

Mastercard Ambassador Naomi Osaka Shares Lessons of Persistence and Triumph

Originally published at Mastercard ranked No. 2 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.


A four-time Grand Slam winner, Naomi Osaka has many victories to savor, but her most treasured may be a little-seen match on a green clay court against a longtime opponent — her older sister, Mari.

Coached from a young age by their father, Osaka had been following in her sister’s footsteps, she recounted at a panel discussion Wednesday night in New York City. Every day, she played her sister. Every day, she lost 6-0. (“If you don’t follow tennis, that’s like the worst score.”) And every day, she told her sister, “I don’t care, I’m going to beat you tomorrow.” Slowly, she started getting better, and one day, she beat Mari 6-4. “It took a very long time, but it was fun. It was challenging, but it was fun … I’ll count it as my best victory ever.” She paused. “I’m sorry, but she cried.”

The room erupted into laughter.

Osaka, a Mastercard ambassador who returns to Arthur Ashe Stadium for the 2022 U.S. Open this week, was joined onstage by three others who discovered their calling and found success early in their lives: Tristan Mack Wilds, the singer-songwriter and actor who may be best known for his heartbreaking portrayal of a promising student let down by the system in “The Wire”; KJ Moody, a stylist for Beyoncé and creative manager for the megastar’s Parkwood Entertainment; and fellow Mastercard ambassador Alex Scott, the retired women’s soccer star and Olympian turned broadcaster, who hosted the panel.

They spoke about taking control of their careers, learning from rejection, inspiring a new generation, and the moments that made them.


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