2021 Australian Open: Naomi Osaka is the right athlete to encourage the following era of stars

Naomi Osaka has 4 Grand Slams and stays unbeaten within the main finals after successful the 2021 Australian Open. However extra remarkably, every of her slams has been necessary to her as a participant and as an individual.

It was simply after Naomi Osaka received her semi-final on the just lately concluded Australian Open that Justine Henin, one of many specialists Eurosport for the season opener Grand Slam, proclaimed that girls’s tennis has discovered its new boss. It may need appeared untimely, provided that the ultimate was but to be performed. However the seven-time Grand Slam champion was agency in her perception. “For me, girls’s tennis has a brand new boss. Naomi Osaka has this capability, she took on one other dimension, ”mentioned Henin.

As if to validate the conviction of the previous Belgian tennis star, Osaka received his fourth Slam title at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

Ladies’s tennis has lengthy aspired to have a champion go spherical by the neck, not be a one-time success or somebody who may win greater than three titles. Serena Williams, who beat Osaka within the semifinals, bought used to successful Slams and it felt prefer it was simple. Not even in the slightest degree.

However what made Osaka’s feat this 12 months much more outstanding was that by bringing her complete to 4, she demonstrated her psychological toughness coupled with unimaginable progress in her tennis. She got here out of two match factors, dealing with a draw, a semi-final in opposition to her idol and a remaining in opposition to arguably the second finest feminine participant on the laborious courts at present.

Every of his 4 slam titles – US Open 2018, Australian Open 2019, US Open 2020, Australian Open 2021 – has meant one thing. They represented one thing in her profession and her standing as a tennis participant.

2021 Australian Open Naomi Osaka is the perfect athlete to inspire the next generation of stars

Naomi Osaka received her first Grand Slam title on the US Open in 2018. Reuters

The 2018 US Open, his first main, was his breakthrough. The truth that he got here up in opposition to Serena within the remaining, in a controversial sport the place the American referred to as the chair umpire a “thief”, simply took the feat up a notch. She turned the primary Japanese feminine participant to win a Grand Slam and the youngest US Open champion since 2006.

2021 Australian Open Naomi Osaka is the perfect athlete to inspire the next generation of stars

Naomi Osaka received back-to-back slams lifting the 2019 Australian Open. AP

The problem in girls’s tennis over the previous decade has been that the gamers weren’t advancing their success. Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur, Marion Bartoli, Flavia Pennetta, Jelena Ostapenko, Sloane Stephens, Caroline Wozniacki, Ashleigh Barty, Bianca Andreescu, Sofia Kenin and Iga Swiatek are all distinctive champions. The problem that awaits them is to show that it’s not a novel title. Osaka, coming into the 2019 Australian Open, had the identical activity.

Not solely did Naomi win the Australian Open, however identical to this 12 months, she’s been via some robust matches. She wanted a trio of straight units earlier than taking part in in opposition to Petra Kvitova within the remaining. She thus turned the youngest lady to win consecutive majors since Martina Hingis in 1998.

2021 Australian Open Naomi Osaka is the perfect athlete to inspire the next generation of stars

Naomi Osaka honored victims of racial inequality and police abuse together with her masks on the 2020 US Open.

In 2020, the world of tennis was a special place. The coronavirus the pandemic hampered the season after February; and out of court docket, the dialog turned political in the US when police brutality emerged. Osaka, of Japanese and Haitian descent however residing in the US since 2006, has been hailed for her assist for the Black Lives Matter motion. She wore a special masks at every flip to honor victims of racial inequality and police brutality.

She got here from 1-6, 0-2 within the remaining in opposition to Victoria Azarenka to win inside an empty Arthur Ashe stadium. The 23-year-old had deliberate to focus on seven completely different names on the match and did what she aspired to do.

“Actually, for me, when all of it occurred in New York, I used to be actually scared as a result of I felt prefer it put me in that gentle that was a non-sporting gentle that I by no means had been earlier than, ”she mentioned after beating Jennifer Brady. within the remaining of the Australian Open.

“So I really feel like there are quite a lot of subjects that folks instantly began asking me that I did not know in any respect. For me, I like to speak solely after I know the subject or at the very least I do know, like, slightly speck of what I will begin speaking about, ”she added.

In Melbourne Park, underneath strict COVID-19[female[feminine restrictions, followers have made a comeback. The gamers got here from throughout and likewise fought with their very own quarantine restrictions. Osaka, in the meantime, carried her unbeaten 21 video games, served probably the most aces amongst girls, and got here again remarkably nicely – one thing she mentioned was her aim.

“So for me, I got here to this match considering solely of tennis.”

And going 4-0 within the Grand Slam remaining, staying impeccable within the majors’ second week, popping out victorious from a tricky draw, says so much about what she is able to and the way a lot she will encourage. . When requested what the following step is for her, what does she need to accomplish that she would not have already got and Osaka had a shocking response.

“I really feel like the largest factor I need to obtain is – that is going to sound actually bizarre – I hope I am taking part in lengthy sufficient to play a woman who mentioned I used to be as soon as her favourite participant or one thing like that. For me, I feel it is the good factor that may occur to me. I feel I’ve this sense of, you understand, watching my favourite gamers. Sadly I could not play Li Na however, yeah, I simply suppose that is how the game goes. “

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