Naomi Osaka has landed on the cover of the 2021 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue days before the start of the Tokyo Olympics, where she will represent Team Japan.
The tennis star is one of three models, joining rapper Megan Thee Stallion and actress/model Leyna Bloom. The three covers were unveiled by Sports Illustrated on Monday, July 19.
“If there’s one thing that our cover models have in common, it’s that they don’t have one thing in common. They look different, have different upbringings, have different passions and inspirations. But each is a reminder that beauty comes in many forms,” Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editor-in-chief MJ Day said in a statement.
Osaka becomes the first Black female athlete to grace the cover of the magazine.
She was previously named one of the 2020 Sports Illustrated Sportspersons of the Year and was on Time’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019 and 2020.
“What drew us to Naomi was her passion, strength and power geared toward consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice and mental health. She is wholeheartedly dedicated to achieving the impossible and has succeeded time and again. We are so honored to have one of the fiercest female trailblazers in history as one of our 2021 covers,” Day added.