Naomi Osaka’s boyfriend didn’t know she was a tennis star before they met and revealed he felt ‘really out of place’ at the 2019 US Open

Naomi Osaka and Cordae

Naomi Osaka and Cordae have been dating for two years. Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

  • Naomi Osaka won the Australian Open on Saturday, marking her fourth Grand Slam title.

  • Osaka, 23, is in a relationship with rapper Cordae, 23.

  • The couple previously made headlines in September 2020 when Cordae cheered on Osaka at the US Open.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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Naomi Osaka’s tennis prowess is undeniable, but her boyfriend didn’t know about her success when they met.

As part of GQ’s Modern Lovers issue, Osaka and rapper Cordae got candid about navigating their relationship while making waves in their respective fields.

On Saturday, Osaka secured her fourth Grand Slam title when she defeated Jen Brady at the Australian Open. Cordae’s debut album, “The Lost Boy,” received two Grammy nominations for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song for his single, “Bad Idea.”

According to GQ, the couple met two years ago and their first date was attending a Los Angeles Clippers game at Staples Center.

“We were on FaceTime trying to find each other because the arena was so big. And I just remember seeing that there were so many people who wanted to take a picture with him. And I just thought it was really cool how friendly and welcoming he was with everyone,” Osaka, 23, told the outlet.

But at that time, Cordae was completely unaware of Osaka’s tennis stardom.

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Cordae attended the 2020 US Open in support of Naomi Osaka. Al Bello/Getty Images

“It’s not my sport,” Cordae, 23, said. “If you asked me about tennis, before being immersed in it because of Naomi, I could only give you Venus and Serena Williams, you know? Because they’re just a part of the culture.”

Cordae then admitted that he “felt really out of place” when he attended the 2019 US Open to support Osaka.

“I don’t know if I ever told Naomi this or not, but I felt really out of place,” Cordae to GQ.

The rapper said the tournament was his “first tennis match ever.”

He continued, “Like, that was my first time being in an environment like that in my entire life. My elementary school, middle school, high school was 99.9 percent Black. Kids who look like me. It just felt really weird for me being in that space. That was my first tennis match ever.”

Fortunately, any uncertainty seems to have faded since Cordae made headlines in September 2020 when he proudly cheered for Osaka at the 2020 US Open.

During the interview, the couple revealed that they dated for nearly a year before letting fans in on their relationship.

“We don’t really post intimate moments, because I feel as though they’re sacred,” Cordae said. “A relationship is really a sacred thing. Once you let outside influences get into it, it becomes less sacred.”

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