Jennifer Brady’s Australian adventure began with 15 days of strict quarantine – stuck in her hotel room because she could have been exposed to COVID-19 while traveling the country – and ended with his participation in the championship at Melbourne Park.
The 25-year-old American will not walk away with the Australian Open title after lose to Naomi Osaka 6-4 6-3 the Saturday. Brady leaves with a strong feeling that she deserves a place in the upper echelon of her sport.
From the quarantine that so many affected players have complained about, Brady had no complaints and did not feel that it was compromising his preparation too much; although admitted to a nagging thought.
“I mean, I made my first Grand Slam final. So maybe if I hadn’t been in quarantine I would have won. Maybe,” she said with a smile.
“Yeah, I don’t think that really bothered me. Who knows? You know, you really don’t know.”
Brady, who is originally from Pennsylvania and played college tennis at UCLA, was one of 72 players who had to crash hard for at least two weeks after taking a chartered flight with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival in Australia.
She couldn’t leave her room for any reason, so there was a lot of FaceTiming with friends, ordering food for delivery – and hitting tennis balls against a mattress.
Brady was the only singles player in this group to reach week two of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year and thought the break from routine may have done her some good, allowing her to physically rest. and mentally.
In the biggest game of his career, Brady was even 4 at the start before a few nervous mistakes led to a six-game run for Osaka that changed the color of things.
Still, Brady leaves with a self-confidence she never had.
“I belong to this level. I think winning a Grand Slam is very achievable. It’s within reach,” said Brady, who will drop from 24th to 13th in the WTA rankings.
“Playing there, obviously, I was nervous. I didn’t go my way. But at the same time, coming off the court, I was like, ‘OK, that feels a little normal to me.’ It was different than I expected. If you asked me maybe a year ago, I wouldn’t think it was possible – or you would feel like you were going to Mars. “
She’s come so far, so fast, and points out two key factors that have helped her: starting to work with coach Michael Geserer in 2019 and playing against – and training with – elite players, which gave her has shown that she can trade swings with the best the sport has to offer.
Consider his resume: When the Australian Open started two weeks ago, Brady’s career record in the tournament was 3-3, including first round outings last year and in 2018, plus a loss in qualifying in 2019.
His Grand Slam record was 15-14, and his overall tour-level rating as a pro was below 0.500, at 54-57.
She had a career title, which arrived in Lexington, Ky., Last August, just after resuming tennis after a five-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I told everyone who would listen that you were going to be a problem – and I was right,” Osaka told Brady at Saturday’s trophy ceremony with a chuckle. after asking her if she would rather be called Jenny or Jennifer. “Seeing your growth over the past few months is really cool for me to see.”
Brady’s Grand Slam breakthrough came when she qualified for the US Open semi-finals in September.
Ran in Osaka again, pushing her to three sets before losing.
“I don’t think, you know, that she’s God,” Brady said of Osaka, who is now a quadruple major champion at 23. “I think Serena (Williams) maybe is. Maybe she will.”
For a daily dose of the best of the latest news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter in Click here!