Naomi Osaka’s boyfriend Cordae didn’t know about her tennis success before dating

'I can't really be with someone who doesn't have any substance.'

Loading the player...

Naomi Osaka’s boyfriend Cordae admits he had no idea she was a tennis star when they began dating. 

The couple has been going strong for two years now, and they open up about their blossoming romance for GQ‘s Modern Love issue. Cordae tells the publication that he didn’t know Osaka, 23, was famous when they first met. 

Read More: Naomi Osaka claims victory against Serena Williams in Australian Open

“It’s not my sport,” the 21-year-old Grammy-nominated rapper 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.”

Their first date was at a Los Angeles Clippers game at the Staples Center. However, when Cordae went to the 2019 U.S. Open to cheer on his girlfriend, who is ranked the third-best female tennis player in the world, he admits that he “felt really out of place.”

“I don’t know if I ever told Naomi this or not, but I felt really out of place. Like, that was my first time being in an environment like that in my entire life,” he said to GQ. “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.”

Elsewhere in their joint GQ interview, the couple makes clear that certain aspects of their relationship are not for public consumption. They dated for a year before announcing on social media that they were boo’d up. 

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

Despite his busy schedule, Cordae makes time to support his lady love when she hits the court. He explained to GQ how he knew Osaka was the one.

Read More: Naomi Osaka becomes part-owner of professional women’s soccer team

“I can’t really be with someone who doesn’t have any substance or doesn’t act or think on the same frequency and wavelength as I do. Like, you know, Naomi was born in Japan. So she has a very worldly perspective. My perspective has always been being a young Black man in America. But she thinks more worldly. I’ve only been traveling the world the last two years,” he said. “We’d be recommending each other books and movies all the time. So, you know, just always feeding the brain.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...