Naomi Osaka showed why she’s a favourite among tennis fans with a classy about-face shortly after her Australian Open demolition job.
Naomi Osaka was all class on the court during her straight sets demolition job on Saturday night and remained a class act off it.
The Japanese star thumped Jennifer Brady 6-4 6-3 in the Australian Open final — becoming the first woman since Monica Seles in 1990-91 to win the first four grand slam deciders they’ve appeared in.
After saying during the post-match presentation how lucky players are to even be competing during a global pandemic, Osaka made sure her fans knew how much she appreciates them.
The 23-year-old did the usual signing spree as spectators hung over the wall to get clothes, merchandise and tennis balls autographed. She then headed up the tunnel, preparing to let the enormity of what she’d achieved sink in.
But the roar didn’t die down as the Melbourne crowd made plenty of noise for the four-time grand slam champion, and Osaka decided she owed her supporters more.
She turned around in the tunnel and came back onto the court, then proceeded to spend more time planting her signature on things.
“That’s great. Naomi’s out there signing every autograph,” WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen tweeted. “Ran back out after walking into the tunnel.”
Sports reporter Sam Landsberger tweeted: “Before leaving Rod Laver Arena Naomi Osaka goes right, left, up the tunnel, and then doubles back to sign 36 autographs in total.
“Tennis balls, programs, tickets, hats, paper fans … nobody missed out. She even posed for photos and threw balls back to fans. Class.”
After congratulating Brady at the net, Osaka moved on to one other pressing matter before being hauled away for a procession of media duties.
She went to her bag, then hightailed it to her player’s box. Part of the reason was to revel in her success with a team she describes as her “family”, but there was more to it than that.
Osaka picked a camera out of her bag and made a beeline for coach Wim Fissette, making sure he took hold of it so he could film the celebrations.
That same camera was in Fissette’s hands pre-match as Osaka prepared for her second Australian Open final, and when the new world No. 2 and her entourage headed into the bowels of Rod Laver Arena after the victory, someone made sure to keep recording.
Commentators and social media users queried what the camera was for, and Osaka explained after the match.
“I’m documenting my memories,” she said.
“It depends on how you see it,” Osaka added when asked whether it was just for her consumption or also for the tennis loving public.
“I’ve been shooting a documentary for like two years and hopefully this footage can be a part of that.”