Naomi Osaka wins Australian Open, becomes first Asian No. 1 Player
Naomi Osaka was understandably emotional after winning her first-ever Australian Open, and she made history in the process as the first Asian No. 1 player.
The 21-year-old defeated Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, on Saturday night. Following her victory, Osaka kicked off her speech with an apology to the crowd.
“Sorry, public speaking isn’t really my strong side. I just hope I can get through this,” she stated, before thanking Kvitova.
“Huge congrats to you, Petra,” she said. “You’re really amazing and I’m so honored to have played you.”
“To my team, I don’t think I would have made it through this week behind you guys. Behind a tennis player is always a team so I’m really grateful,” she continued, before admitting that she forgot what else she had prepared to say.
“I read notes before this but I still forgot the rest of what I was supposed to say,” she said with a laugh. “So just thank you everyone and I’m really honored to have played in this final.”
Osaka’s rose to superstar status when she beat Serena Williams in the U.S. Open women’s singles finals in September.
Osaka explained PEOPLE at the time that she wasn’t nervous playing the tennis champ “because I played her once before. The reason why I would be nervous was because I’ve never played a finals before. Otherwise, when I stepped onto the court I felt completely fine. When I play, I feel like a different person so I felt pretty comfortable.”
LA Times reports that Osaka is the first woman to win two major championships in a row since Williams bagged four straight in 2014-15.
“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.”
“Huge congrats to Petra. I’ve always wanted to play you. You’ve been through so much, honestly I wouldn’t have wanted this to be our first match.”@Naomi_Osaka_ is all class ?#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/8WxY6PVNc2
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2019