Naomi Osaka has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is Serena Williams’ successor as the queen of women’s tennis after avoiding a first challenge from Jennifer Brady at win the final of the Australian Open 6-4 6-3.
Ruthless in her execution on the pitch, Osaka was generally charming in her acceptance speech afterwards, with the crowd at times in stitches and others to enthusiastic applause as they got another window on the personality. multi-faceted who became the biggest star in women’s tennis. .
Osaka wins Australian Open
However, despite the dominant score, the Japanese star didn’t have the final in her own way, later admitting that Brady was “going to be a problem” for her after awkwardly asking her if she should call him “Jenny or Jennifer”.
Osaka was reassured when she needed to stop Brady’s first bulldozer comeback and brilliant once the second set started, breaking early before intimidating the American on his way to the finish line.
At 23, Osaka has now won four Grand Slam tournaments, two Australian Open and two United States Open, to make him the undisputed superstar of his generation.
She is only two slams behind Serena Williams’ tally at the same age, the 39-year-old to 23-year-old having already won the ‘Serena Slam’ on her 24th birthday.
Still, according to Jim Courier, who commented on the game for Nine, Osaka is heading for a career that will place her in the pantheon of all-time greats that Williams has held for over a decade.
“She’s going to win a lot more. There’s no doubt about that,” Courier said moments after Osaka served for the championship.
“She faced the pressure, a 4-4 break point in the first set. She resisted that moment and she had a tear that created that moment.”
Courier co-commentator Sam Smith added that Osaka was exactly what women’s tennis needed as Serena’s career began to come to an end.
“She’s widely regarded as Serena’s successor. 23-year-old Serena had already won six, she had already won the Serena Slam so she’s got a little bit of a backlog,” said Smith.
“That’s what women’s tennis needs, a champion who will win time and time again to elevate women’s tennis.”
Graceful Brady in Defeat
While Osaka demonstrated her ruthless streak as the final tightened, she also showed her class, with good sportsmanship and an appreciation for Brady’s best moments throughout.
In fact, at one point, it made Smith question whether the two finalists were being too kind to each other, with Brady also being quick to applaud the Osaka winners.
After the championship point was won, Osaka showed another side of her personality, the wacky side, half climbing the wall to the player’s box so she could pass her coach her phone and ask him to. start filming.
It was an adorable sight, which gave a snapshot of Osaka’s tenderness that so contradicts the power with which she hits the tennis ball.
The worshiping crowd at Rod Laver Arena gave Osaka a huge roar of approval as she rose to accept Memorial Cup Daphne Akhurst, with the 24-year-old already becoming a fan favorite in Melbourne.
She seemed almost stunned by the reception, giggling when she first stood up to collect her trophy, before settling in for a wonderful acceptance speech that gave the crowd exactly what they wanted.
Australian Open: Naomi Osaka vs. Jennifer Brady
“Do you like being called Jenny or Jennifer,” Osaka began, turning to his battered opponent.
“Jenny,” Brady replied, before Osaka addressed Jennifer anyway, much to the crowd’s amusement.
“I told anyone who would listen that you were going to be a problem,” Osaka said. “I was right,” she continued as the crowd laughed hysterically.
“It’s really amazing to play against you and see your growth over the last few months. It’s cool for me to see and I know you are probably working really hard so I want to congratulate your team there too. .
“My team is like my family, so I’m sure your team probably have a lot of great adventures together, so congratulations to you too.
“I know you mentioned your mom so I’m sure she’s really proud of you and I know everyone around you and your family are really, really proud of you.
“I think we’re going to play a lot more games, so there you go.”
Osaka then thanked his team, joking that they had been “with them for too long” after going through their forties together before kicking off the 2021 season.
Brady’s Perfect Lob Wins Superb Rally
“They’re like my family,” she says. They’re the ones with me throughout my training, my games, my nervous discussions before my games, and I’m really grateful to them, so I really want to thank you guys. This one’s for you. “
She ended by thanking the crowd, a feature players had almost gotten used to playing but clearly enjoyed seeing her for much of the Australian Open.
“Thank you for opening your hearts and arms to us, I think playing a Grand Slam right now is a great privilege that I won’t take for granted.”
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