Naomi Osaka Won!!!!

Illustration for article titled Naomi Osaka Won!!!!
Photo: Quinn Rooney (Getty Images)

Let’s just get this out of the way: I don’t understand tennis at all. I sort of picked up the scoring and calling things “Love!” or whatever from Mario Tennis 64, but that was literally 21 years ago and nothing has stuck.

That said, what I do understand about Naomi Osaka winning the 2021 Australian Open women’s title, is that she won the 2021 Australian Open women’s title! And that shes very, very, very good at tennis and has won more titles than almost anyone currently playing right now.

The Haitian-Japanese athlete, who spent a lot of her childhood in the United States, beat American opponent Jennifer Brady in Melbourne on Saturday, with a score of 6-4, 6-3...at least, I think that’s the score? I wish I had a strong they/them to help me parse through the Associated Press tennis coverage, but alas! I don’t.

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Speaking of impressive numbers, here are some that even a dumbass like me can grasp: Osaka served the ball at speeds as high as 122 miles per hour! She’s on a 21-match winning streak! She’s got a 12-0 record in quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals at the majors! She’s now ranked second in the world, The New York Times reports, just behind Australian competitor Ashleigh Barty, and only two other currently active players hold more major trophies than her, sisters Venus and Serena Williams with seven and 23, respectively!

Speaking of the younger Williams sister, Naomi beat Serena in the Australian Open semifinals on Thursday. That must have been pretty intense for her since, as she told the AP, she has long considered Williams an idol of hers.

“This is going to sound really odd, but hopefully I play long enough to play a girl that said that I was once her favorite player or something,” Osaka told the AP. “For me, I think that’s the coolest thing that could ever happen to me... That’s how the sport moves forward.”

Love that. Eh? Not bad for a girl who has no idea what she’s doing...

Freelance journalist (GQ, W, Esquire, elsewhere), here on weekends

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DISCUSSION

And Osaka is ranked third in the world. That isn’t to dismiss what she achieved here, but rather considering her skill level it speaks that this might be one of the top periods in women’s tennis in general as there are a lot of exciting young players and it will probably get even better.

To give some further perspective, at the moment on the WTA top 10 rankings five players are under 25. Barty, whose ranked number one, is 24, just one year older than Osaka. Kenin at number 4 is 22, one year younger than Osaka. It’s just an exciting period of time of not just watching these future stars of the game rising to the top, but seeing multiple of them battle for that top position instead of the clear chosen one.

By the way, slight note on the article as this wasn’t the first time Osaka has beaten Williams.