May 19, 2024

Naomi Osaka wins Australian Open, becomes first Asian No. 1 Player

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka of Japan poses for a photo with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup following victory in her Women’s Singles Final match against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during day 13 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

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.”

—Detroit Lions linebacker Trevor Bates assaults cop after arrest for not paying cab fare—

“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.

—One month after winning against Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka says ‘the hype’ has her stressed—

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.”

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