Naomi Osaka is being hailed as the new queen of tennis after clinching her fourth grand slam singles title with a thumping win over Jennifer Brady on Saturday night.
Many have labelled the 23-year-old the 'new Serena Williams' after the Japanese superstar cemented her heavyweight status in the sport with a 6-4 6-3 win over Brady in the women's final.
'OH MY GOD': Naomi Osaka's 'savage' act in victory speech
Osaka was already last year crowned the world's highest-paid female athlete and the softly spoken and quirky star is a marketer's dream.
The new World No.2's growth in the sport has been obvious for all to see, with Osaka arguably the most powerful hitter in the women's game with an engine room and physical makeup that few of her peers can rival.
Her trainer Yutaka Nakamura - who also worked with tennis legend Maria Sharapova - says Osaka is "on another level" and hailed the Japanese star's "cold-blooded" mental strength as one of her greatest weapons.
Off the tennis court Osaka has become one of the sport's most powerful voices, with her passionate advocacy of the Black Lives Matter movement proving a beacon of light for fans around the world.
One only needs to compare Osaka's latest victory speech at the Australian Open to the first one of her career to see how far she's come in only a few years.
Saturday night's speech - while typically quirky at times - was also assured, eloquent and considered.
It was a far cry from the first victory speech of her career at Indian Wells in 2018 when a shy, giggling Osaka had no idea what to say or who to thank, before predicting that it was "probably going to be the worst acceptance speech of all time".
The awkward moment was understandable for someone so young and, by her own reckoning, inherently introverted.
The contrast between that Osaka and the one we saw on Saturday night at Melbourne Park was pointed out by several tennis experts, analysing the incredible growth of the 23-year-old star.
If you want to understand Naomi Osaka's growth over the last three years, just compare that really nice and fluid acceptance speech to her speech after first ever title in Indian Wells 2018. pic.twitter.com/HprNfmN5fq
— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) February 20, 2021
“If you want to understand Naomi Osaka’s growth over the last three years, just compare that really nice and fluid acceptance speech to her speech after first ever title in Indian Wells 2018," tennis writer Tumaini Carayol tweeted.
Tennis reporter Courtney Nguyen agreed saying: “Um … can we put this speech side by side with her IW speech lol.”
Fans lap up Osaka's victory speech
Sports writer Zenia D’Cunha added: “Unpopular opinion: @naomiosaka’s post-winning speech, especially the bit to Jen Brady, beats Naomi Osaka’s terrific @AusOpen final! She’s such a class act overall.”
Osaka's Australian Open victory speech proved a real hit for fans, with many pointing out a hilarious moment involving beaten opponent Brady at the start.
The 23-year-old's speech got underway in hilarious circumstances when she awkwardly stopped to ask Brady whether she prefers to be called 'Jenny' or 'Jennifer'.
Naomi Osaka's full acceptance speech:pic.twitter.com/B82afjN1FE
— 🕊️‘ciñëphilë 🎋 (@NewtVicky) February 20, 2021
The American let out a slightly puzzled giggle, before stating that 'Jenny' was her preference.
"Firsly I want to congratulate Jennifer," Osaka said in a moment that lit up social media and saw viewers describe the 23-year-old as "savage".
After adding a second Open title to her 2018 and 2020 US Open crowns, Osaka holds two of the sport's four biggest trophies and could conceivably secure a non-calendar-year grand slam if she wins the French Open in June and Wimbledon in July.
But she's only thinking of grand slam No.5 first.
"I honestly think I'd have better luck on clay because I think last year I didn't play bad at all," Osaka said.
"It's just something that I have to get more used to.
"Definitely there's no reason why I shouldn't do well in those tournaments."
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