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Meet Naomi Osaka, the Barbie doll

The doll, which features the tennis player in clothing inspired by her 2020 Australian Open outfit, is meant 'to remind young girls they can make a difference in the world'

Osaka became a part of Mattel Inc's push to make its iconic toy line more diverse with dolls based on different role models and professions. (Courtesy Naomi Osaka/Instagram)

Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka now has her own line of Barbie dolls.

The 23-year-old world No.2 tennis player, who has used her position to call attention to issues of police violence and racial inequality, became a part of Mattel Inc's push to make its iconic toy line more diverse with dolls based on different role models and professions.

"It's such an honor to be a part of the Barbie Role Model series, and to remind young girls that they can make a difference in the world. I want young girls everywhere to feel empowered to dream big," Osaka, who grew up idolizing 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, said in a statement.

Also read: Who said what at Wimbledon 2021

Mattel's tie-up with Japan's Osaka is the latest example of brands becoming more comfortable with taking a stand on social issues and banking on partnerships with female athletes to pull in new customers.

In April, Gap Inc's Athleta brand signed four-time Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles for a new apparel partnership, with a focus on diversity and inclusion.

Mattel also has Barbie dolls modeled on US soccer player Alex Morgan and Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Also read: Is Novak Djokovic already the best tennis player of his era?

"Barbie is committed to celebrating real-life role models... remarkable women who are breaking boundaries and inspiring the next generation," Mattel said in a statement, announcing the Osaka doll that is sporting a Nike tennis outfit and a racket.

Osaka, who did not compete in the Wimbledon championships for personal reasons, following her withdrawal from the French Open for a mental health break, will be competing in the Tokyo Olympics later this month.

Tokyo, meanwhile, entered its fourth coronavirus state of emergency on Monday. The measure will last throughout the Olympics and end on 22 August.

The government has requested bars and restaurants not to offer alcohol as part of efforts to prevent infections, reported NHK World.

Chief cabinet secretary Kato Katsunobu said last week that the government will consider providing subsidies more quickly to make it easier for pub owners to cooperate.

The emergency declarations and focused anti-infection measures are scheduled to continue through August.

The duration includes the Tokyo Olympics between 23 July and 8 August and the Obon holiday period in mid-August when many people usually visit their hometowns or tourist spots, reported NHK World.

The government is urging people to take thorough anti-virus measures out of concern that an increase of people's movement could spread infections. Officials are also concerned about the spread of the Delta variant.

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