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Naomi Osaka has won over the tennis world with her classy and humble response after being demolished in the Miami Open final by Iga Swiatek.
Swiatek became the first woman in history to win the first three WTA 1000 titles in a calendar year, brushing Osaka aside 6-4 6-0 in Saturday's final.
The 20-year-old will now take the World No.1 ranking vacated by Ash Barty's retirement after doing the 'Sunshine Double' by winning back-to-back titles at Indian Wells and Miami.
For Osaka, the runner-up performance marked a return to her brilliant best and the first time she'd made a final since the 2021 Australian Open some 14 months ago.
The Japanese star endured a difficult year after winning her fourth grand slam title in February of 2021, taking a break from the game to focus on her mental health.
On Saturday, the 24-year-old showed that her efforts to improve her mental health have done wonders for her on-court performance.
Osaka was classy and humble in her runner-up speech, heaping praise on Swiatek and thanking those who have stood by her.
"I want to dedicate this one to all the people that support me and my fans," she said.
"I know I haven't been in this position for a little minute.
"I know this isn't the outcome that you guys wanted but I am having a lot of fun out here so I hope that I can keep working hard and get more opportunities to be in a situation like this again.
"I want to congratulate Iga. Just watching your journey is really incredible and I hope you continue having fun.
"You're a really incredible, amazing person and I hope you keep going forward."
Fans were grateful to see Osaka happy and smiling again and praised her for the classy speech.
It's seriously so great to see Osaka here. pic.twitter.com/HRSjsIos7L
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) April 2, 2022
— Miami Open (@MiamiOpen) April 2, 2022
I'm happy that she is 🔙 and that she has managed to get to where she is. It's not an easy road but seeing that she doesn't give up,she fights and she wants to improve makes me forget that she lost cause a CHAMP isn't defined by her losses but by how she comes out of them.
— YAYALI™ (@LlaaniiMaan) April 2, 2022
Champion isn’t defined by her loses but every time she has gotten up after them. Feels lovely to have witnessed her growth as well as in moments like these. 💜 You are loved and seen far more than you know, my girl. keep going.
— Meagan Mitchell (@theemeagan) April 2, 2022
Regardless of the finals outcome, Naomi had a REALLY good tourney showing. I can’t wait to see her build off of this 👏🏼
— Danté Dio | dRob24 (@DRob_24) April 2, 2022
Osaka is such a lady, people! What a incredible human being is this girl !
Her friendship with Iga is amazing!
They are both real winners! 🥎💪
— 💚Orgoglio del mio PALMEIRAS 💚 (@elielmarcelino) April 2, 2022
Awesome speech—she's becoming a pro at this now. She will be fine. This will make her stronger. See, there were no tears at the ceremony. If she wins the #UsOpen I will not be surprised... Or even one of the big clay-court events. I still believe in her; I feel it! #MiamiOpen
— Sandy Burke (@_Burky) April 2, 2022
She is a role model for all of us who struggle with mental health and depression. Go girl! You can climb your way to the top again.
— m0n1c23k (@m0n1c23k) April 2, 2022
we love you too, naomi! it's great to see you back competing at this level again. i'm sure you'll be in many more finals! ♥️
— esmee |#1GA (@IgasBakery) April 2, 2022
Iga Swiatek makes tennis history with Miami title
Swiatek didn't drop a set en route to the Miami title and has now won 17 consecutive matches dating back to her championship run at the Qatar Open in February.
The 20-year-old is just the fourth woman to win the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments back-to-back, a feat known as the 'Sunshine Double'.
Her titles in Qatar, Indian Wells and Miami make her the first woman ever to win the first three WTA 1000 events in a calendar year.
"These weeks were so intense I didn't really know if I would able to keep up with the streak that I have," said Swiatek.
"It's amazing for me that I could show mental toughness because my whole life I thought I could do more and sometimes I was losing and I didn't even know why.
"This season I feel like everything clicked so it's great and I am really happy."
The Polish star is the first women to complete the 'Sunshine Double' since Victoria Azarenka in 2016.
Kim Clijsters (2005) and Steffi Graf (1994, 1996) are the only other women to accomplish the rare feat.
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