*Serena who?! Sorry to say it, but that’s what’s coming off the lips of some (Serena Williams haters?) in the wake of Naomi Osaka impressively winning another championship.
Yep, if you haven’t heard, Osaka won the Australian Open on Saturday by beating Petra Kvitova. Not only that, it’s the young star’s second consecutive Grand Slam title.
Look for it on Monday: Osaka, 21, will also become the new world No. 1. She’ll be the first player of Japanese ancestry to ever achieve the feat.
As you may recall, it was back in September that Osaka beat her idol, Serena Williams, in a dramatic U.S. Open final and the Australian Open win was her chance to shine without any drama, reports Essence.
She is now the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams won four straight championships in 2015.
“In New York, most of the crowd was for Serena,” said Osaka. “Here it felt like they were split a little bit. Honestly when I was playing (Kvitova) and I heard the crowd was for both of us, I was very happy. At the same time I was just trying to focus on playing the match.”
ESPN notes that the last person to win her first two Grand Slams back-to-back was Jennifer Capriati in 2001. She won the Australian Open and then the French. Capriati was 24. Osaka is 21. Think about this interesting tidbit: Last year, at the same tournament, Osaka was No. 72 in the world. Now she’s leaving as No. 1.
And here’s another way to look at it. Kvitova won her first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2011 when she was also 21 like Osaka. It took her another three years to get the second, also at Wimbledon. She recalled what it was like to win the first one.
“For me was kind of big thing happened when I was young,” Kvitova explained. “I didn’t really know what everything is about. For me was a big surprise. I probably wasn’t really ready to win it, to be honest. I wasn’t really prepared. It took me a while to kind of get used to. Yeah, I think it’s always a bit pressure from outside, as well, from yourself. You just want to play better. You’re thinking like you have to win every single match because you just won a Grand Slam. That’s how I was thinking actually. Yeah, I put a bit more pressure than I should.