Naomi Osaka just won the Australian Open, her second Grand Slam title in a row — and the moment was incredibly emotional.
The 21-year-old from Japan beat Czech Petra Kvitova 7-6 (2), 5-7, 6-4 in a gruelling two hour, 27 minute match in Melbourne on Saturday, replacing Simona Halep as world number one — the first ever Asian player to take the top spot.
After taking the first set, Osaka blew three championship points in the second, giving Kvitva a chance to turn the match around as she won the second set.
However, Osaka came back in the deciding set, serving for victory at 6-4.
Upon winning, an overwhelmed Osaka squatted on the court with her face in her hands, before returning to her chair with her face covered.
You can watch the emotional moment here:
After collecting her trophy, a nervous Osaka said: “Sorry, public speaking isn’t really my strong side. I just hope I can get through this.”
She thanks the fans, team, and congratulated her opponent, saying: “You’re really amazing and I’m really honoured to have played you in the final of a Grand Slam.
“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 added: “I read notes before this but I’ve still forgotten what I’m supposed to say. I’m really honoured to play in this final so thank you.”
Osaka made a name for herself in the tennis world when she won the US Open final against Serena Williams in straight sets in September, during a match that was wrought with violations and sparked a conversation about on-court attitudes and “coaching” in the sport.
That same month, Osaka signed a three-year endorsement deal with Nissan, proving she was well on her way to become the biggest star in the sport.
She’s also become known for her straightforward and humorous manner.
After knocking out seventh seed Karolina Pliskova in three sets to claim her spot in the Australian Open final, she was asked in a post-match interview whether she would spend the rest of her time in the city walking and exploring.
She replied: “I’m going to go to sleep. Maybe after that I might walk, but probably not, to be honest.”