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Naomi Osaka Australian Open 2021

‘It’s an honour,’ says Naomi Osaka following Mats Wilander’s praise

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Naomi Osaka said she is honoured by Mats Wilander suggestion that she could win 10 Grand Slams though insists she is not getting carried away following her fourth Grand Slam victory. 

The Japanese star secured her second Australian Open title with a comfortable 6-4 6-3 victory over Jennifer Brady in front of a lively crowd at Rod Laver Arena.

Following Osaka’s victory over Serena Williams, the passing of the torch from the American icon to the Japanese star has been hotly debated, though the 23-year-old insists she is planning to ‘live in the moment’.

“I’m taking it in sections,” said Naomi Osaka.

“Right now, I’m trying to go for five. You know, after five I would think about maybe dividing the 10, so maybe seven or eight. I like to take things not big picture. For me, I like to live in the moment.”

Reacting to Wilander’s comments, she said: “It’s an honour that he said that of course, but I don’t want to weigh myself down with pressure and expectations.

“I know that the people that I’m playing against are the best players in the world, and, you know, if my time comes to win another Grand Slam, it will come.”

Despite her dominance on the hardcourt, Naomi Osaka is yet to reach the fourth round in a Grand Slam on clay or grass, which the Japanese star believes she must focus on.

“For me, I feel like I have to get comfortable on those surfaces,” Osaka said.

“That’s the key thing that, you know, I didn’t play juniors, so I didn’t grow up playing on grass at all.

“So I honestly think I’d have better luck on clay, because I think last year I didn’t play bad at all. It’s just something that I have to get more used to.”

Rather than looking towards Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams, Osaka placed more importance on inspiring the younger generation and becoming an icon.

“I feel like the biggest thing that I want to achieve is… this is going to sound really odd, but hopefully I play long enough to play a girl that said that I was once her favourite player or something,” she said.

“For me, I think that’s the coolest thing that could ever happen to me.

“I think I have those feelings of, you know, watching my favourite players. Unfortunately I didn’t get to play Li Na, but, yeah, I just think that that’s how the sport moves forward.”

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Naomi Osaka Australian Open 2021
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