Naomi Osaka's hilarious Australian Open victory speech had the tennis world talking and now the Japanese star knows why.
The 23-year-old cemented her reputation as the new queen of tennis with a straight sets win over Jennifer Brady to claim her second title at Melbourne Park and the fourth major of her burgeoning career.
While fans hailed the Japanese superstar's latest feat, it was her post-match speech that many viewers found even more entertaining than the match itself.
In a typically quirky moment, Osaka asked whether Brady preferred to be called Jenny or Jennifer, with the American signalling that the former was her preference.
Completely ignoring Brady's answer, Osaka said: "Firsly I want to congratulate Jennifer," in a moment described as "savage" by many viewers.
Osaka's gaffe quickly went viral, with fans laughing at how she accidentally trolled her beaten opponent.
The crowd inside Rod Laver Arena also found the incident amusing, with Osaka insisting she had no idea what happened until she saw a clip on social media.
A clearly mortified Osaka took to social media on Sunday to clear the air.
Omg no 😭😩 I promise you my mind thought I called her Jenny in that moment and I was so confused why the crowd was laughing. I’m so sorry 😣 https://t.co/fqS3nPBb1C
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) February 21, 2021
"OMG no," Osaka tweeted on Sunday with with crying and sad face emojis.
"I promise you my mind thought I called her Jenny in that moment and I was so confused why the crowd was laughing. I’m so sorry," she added
Osaka is being hailed as a double-digit major winner in waiting after soaring into rarefied air with her latest Australian Open triumph.
Japanese star joins elite company
The Japanese superstar is the first woman since Monica Seles 30 years ago to win her first four grand slam finals and, along with the great Roger Federer, only the third player in the Open era to achieve the feat.
"That's very amazing company," Osaka said.
"I hope that I can have, like, one grain of how their career has unfolded."
Serena and Venus Williams are the only active women's players with more slams than Osaka and three-time Open champion Mats Wilander is convinced the 23-year-old phenom will rack up "10, 11, 12 - minimum" before she calls it quits.
"She's the best hardcourt player we've had in the women's game since Serena was at her best," Wilander said after Osaka clubbed American Jennifer Brady 6-4 6-3 in Saturday night's one-sided final.
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."
Unbeaten in more than a year, Osaka revealed how the pain of her stinging last-up 6-0 6-3 loss to Spain's Sara Sorribes Torbo in the Fed Cup last February and 2020 Open third-round defeat to Coco Gauff had driven her inspired 21-match winning run since the tour's return from the pandemic-enforced suspension in August.
"I do remember what it feels like to lose a match, very vividly," she said.
"I remember it here, and I remember how I was feeling and what my mindset was.
"Honestly, it still makes me sad to this day so, yeah, it's quite a lingering memory."
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