Naomi Osaka on Motherhood, Designing Her First Nursery, and Returning to Tennis | Homes
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Naomi Osaka on Motherhood, Designing Her First Nursery, and Returning to Tennis

Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

Tennis champion Naomi Osaka has always had a sharp eye for aesthetics: just look at her playful Nike collab, or the Yonex racquet she once played with, which she co-designed with the contemporary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Her fits are consistently fashion-forward, too, whether the Comme des Garçons look she wore to collect her U.S. Open trophy in 2018, or the striking Louis Vuitton ensemble she wore to co-host the 2021 Met Gala

And while her style has typically fallen more on the youthfully bold side of things, she’s flexing another, arguably more grown-up creative lens with her latest partnership: A co-designed and curated nursery rendered with Crate & Barrel’s Crate & Kids, in celebration of her and her partner Cordae’s first child, a baby girl who arrived a few days ago. Her nursery edit is now shoppable at the furniture retailer.

Naomi Osaka Crate & Barrel’s Crate & Kids
Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

Osaka’s vision for the room is a well-balanced blend of muted pinks and airy, sky blues (with clouds painted on opposing walls for added ambiance). Natural wood accents imbue warmth, while curvilinear shelving and armrests underscore Osaka’s eye for the contemporary.

Naomi Osaka Crate & Barrel’s Crate & Kids
Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

“I just know that I really wanted a peaceful nursery,” she says over a Zoom call. “And I wanted somewhere the baby could get adjusted to as well, when she’s a little bit older. Not just in the infant stage. That was my main focus.” Osaka adds: “I tried to be colorful, but not overstimulating.”

Naomi Osaka Crate & Barrel’s Crate & Kids
Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

There’s something cerebral about Osaka’s nursery, too—the clouds notwithstanding. A zenness in proportion and verve, but with touches of her unique personality beneath it. Osaka is clearly in a reflective mood, considering motherhood in tandem with her eventual return to the sporting spotlight. “I’m excited to have the opportunity [to play] again,” she says. “I’ve been playing tennis since I was three, and I think it’s one of those things where I needed to take a step back to appreciate it more. I also just really want to see fans again. During COVID, the distance hit me really hard.”

Naomi Osaka Crate & Barrel’s Crate & Kids
Courtesy of Crate & Barrel

Osaka says she tries “not to watch [tennis] at all” when she isn’t competing, preferring to focus on what’s ahead and not let her absence get… well, in her head. “I remember following the Australian Open a little bit earlier this year, and it made me upset because I’ve never missed an Australian Open.” (She has won the A.O., and the U.S. Open, twice each.)

“It was kind of hard to cope with those feelings of wanting to be there really badly,” she continues. “I wouldn’t trade this for the world, but it was just hard to watch everyone competing over there [while I was] sitting out.”

Slam FOMO does not outweigh her excitement about parenthood, though–especially parenthood and tennis, once Osaka is ready to return. “I think what’s most exciting for me,” Osaka says, “is just growing together. Going through life together.” She says her own mother “wants to cook for the baby and teach the baby Japanese,” but it’s something her father said during her own childhood that’s resonating most strongly in terms of how she’s going to approach being a mom.

“I just remember him saying ‘patience is very important.’ That’s stuck with me.”

This article was originally published on Vogue.com

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