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Naomi Osaka can't stop and won't stop dominating the tennis court.
The 23-year-old tennis star was recently named the best athlete in women's sports at the ESPYS and is now representing Japan at the Tokyo Olympic Games. While Naomi continues to thrive, she looks to her boyfriend, 23-year-old rapper Cordae, for support off the court.
Tennis fans likely caught a glimpse of Cordae at the 2020 U.S. Open posing with the Grand Slam champion. Like Naomi, the Suitland, Maryland rapper is also a major success in his industry. In 2019, he was nominated for two Grammys in the Best Rap Album and Best Rap Song categories. Previously, he was known as YBN Cordae for his involvement in YBN Collective. But since 2020, the group has disbanded and pursued solo endeavors.
As for Cordae and Naomi's love story, the two told GQ that it all began when they exchanged phone numbers in 2019. Their first date was at an LA Clippers basketball game. Apparently, they had a hard time locating each other in the Staples Center, but when they did, Naomi thought it was "really cool how friendly and welcoming [Cordae] was with everyone" trying to take a picture with him.
In the beginning, Cordae didn't follow tennis much and didn't know Naomi was such a big name in the sport. "I didn't even know who she was," he admitted to Ebro in the Morning. "I know Serena Williams. When you think about tennis, I just know Serena Williams." In the end, though, the couple saw their differences as an opportunity to expose each other to new things.
Apart from their careers, they are proud supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. While Naomi famously wore face masks at the U.S. Open bearing the names of Black Americans killed at the hands of police officers, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported that Cordae joined protestors last summer in a demonstration outside of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's home following the murder of Breonna Taylor.
When it comes to posting about their relationship, it appears Cordae and Naomi have collectively decided to keep things private for the most part.
"We don’t really post intimate moments, because I feel as though they’re sacred. A relationship is really a sacred thing," he explained to GQ. "Once you let outside influences get into it, it becomes less sacred."
Knowing how they feel, we now know it was a rare treat that Naomi decided to post a few backstage moments of herself with Cordae at the 2021 EPSY Awards on social media. In the last two photos of the Instagram carousel below, Cordae can be seen walking next to Naomi on the ESPYS set and sitting next to her on a white bench.
In response to the post, Cordae wrote in the comments section, "The highest level 📶." The comment has since received over 1,400 likes and supportive responses from fans. "You two are beautiful together❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️," one fan wrote. "@cordae a supportive boyfriend, so sweet!," another said.
While Cordae and Naomi are thoughtful about what they post, Cordae is also always quick to stand behind the tennis champion on social media. This year, when Naomi announced she would not take part in press conferences ahead of the 2021 French Open, Cordae reposted her message to his Instagram Stories and added "THE ONE!" to show his support.
What's more, after Naomi formally stepped back from the 2021 French Open, Cordae was right there to offer support once again. Naomi wrote, "I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris." She also revealed that she had written to tournament officials privately to apologize for the "distraction" she believes she caused. In response to Naomi's statement, Cordae wrote, "No need to apologize to ANYBODY!"
Safe to say, Cordae will always have Naomi's back.
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