Reigning U.S. Open champ Naomi Osaka returns to childhood tennis court in NYC

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- Reigning U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka was back on the tennis courts in Queens where she started to practice her play Thursday.

But this time she shared the court with kids who were once like her.

"I started to watch her when I started playing tennis. She was really good," Queens resident Natasha Leon said.

"It's amazing, especially because she's a Black woman. It's really inspiringto me," Aaliyah Thompson of Queens said.

Even her childhood coach, Billy Meeks, is in awe of what Osaka has become.

"You want me to cry? I just meet her and mommy, daddy, her sister. That's my girl," Meeks said.

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Osaka returned to Det. Keith Williams Park in Jamaica to check out the court that was recently refurbished by the sports drink company Bodyarmor with some of the young athletes in the Naomi Osaka Play Academy.

Many of the children were ecstatic to get a chance to play with the tennis pro herself.

"This is where we promote the game of tennis and to give the students in the neighborhood something to do," Liberty Tennis' Sharon Simmond said.

Liberty Tennis is a non-profit local group that has been teaching inner-city kids, allowing one child at a time the opportunity to dream big and pay it forward.

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