Haitian-Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka wins Australian Open

Australian Open champion Japan's Naomi Osaka poses with the trophy during a photo shoot at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria on Feb. 21, 2021.
REUTERS/Jaimi Joy

Haitian-Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, 23, has come out victorious once again, winning the 2021 Australian Open, according to Essence.com.

It was her second Australian Open win and her fourth Grand Slam title, making her the first woman in 31 years – the last was Monica Seles – to win four Grand Slams.

Essence said Osaka’s opponent was Jennifer Brady, 25, who was playing in the Australian Open finals for the first time in her career.

The final score was 6-4, 6-3, with the matches taking less than two hours, Essence said.

“Firstly, I want to congratulate Jennifer,” Osaka told reporters afterwards. “We played in the semis of the US Open, so a couple of months ago, and I told anyone that would listen that you were going to be a problem, and I was right.

“I want to thank my team,” she added. “I’ve been with them too long. We’ve been through quarantine together and, for me, they’re like my family. They’re with me through training, matches, nervous talks before my matches. I’m really appreciative of them. So, this one’s for you.”

Osaka, who won her first Australian Open in 2019, is of Japanese and Haitian heritage and was born in Japan, Essence said.

It said her family relocated to New York when Osaka was three “and taking inspiration from Richard Williams, the father of Venus and Serena Williams.”

Essence said Osaka’s own father trained his daughters to be professional tennis players.

In 2019, Osaka gave up her US citizenship to represent Japan in the 2020 Olympics. Japanese law required her to choose either the US or Japan by the time she was 22, Essence said.

It said Osaka is also renowned for her activism and was outspoken following the 2020 killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

During 2020’s US Open, Essence said she wore face masks, calling attention to their unjust deaths.

“I feel like I’m a vessel, at this point, in order to spread awareness,” Essence quoted her as telling ESPN.

Essence said that, in 2021, Osaka was named a Global Ambassador for Louis Vuitton.

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