Super champ Osaka

Super champ Osaka


So, it was not the Super Moms but Super Naomi Osaka who walked away with the trophy after outhitting Victoria Azarenka in an intense women’s singles final at the US Open.

The hype around the Super Moms was justifiable as they grabbed the headlines in New York in the last fortnight. For a Grand Slam shorn of star value in the men’s and women’s sections, with many players pulling out due to the COVID-19 scare in NYC, it was creditable the senior players decided to show up.

To be sure, the pressure on Serena Williams, looking for her elusive 24th Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court, has been getting to her. On court, Serena is all power, the ripping muscles showing how much time she spends on her fitness and conditioning.

She is definitely not going to stop competing, though post return to tennis after the birth of her daughter Olympia,  she has not won a Grand Slam title despite having come tantalisingly close a few times.

Once Serena lost to Osaka, the Japanese girl who lives in the USA, was the favourite. The pundits spoke of Azarenka having more experience. Well, it looked like that early on in the three-set final. Once Osaka found the depth and range in her shots, she was in The Zone, as they say in tennis.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 02: Naomi Osaka of Japan wears a mask with the name Elijah McClain on it following her Womens Singles second round win against Camila Giorgi of Italy on Day Three of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 2, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. McClain was killed by police in Aurora, Colorado. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP

The young girl has been working on many aspects of her game and in these two years she has evolved as a very strong person. There is a big difference between Naomi Osaka of 2018, winner of the US Open and the latest avatar.

It is clear she has laboured on her fitness, which was possible due to the suspended tennis season because of Corona virus in 2020. A tennis player these days is a superb athlete first and then a package of good serve, strong groundies and other possible skill strength.

Osaka has been working on many aspects, something which was there for the discerning to see. Her calm temperament was a big plus and in each match at the US Open this time, seven to be precise, she had come with different names on her face masks.

She wore seven different names on her face masks each time she entered the court. Each one had imprints of popular names who had lost their lives in the USA recently thanks to the ugly racial violence. What Osaka was doing was to send out quite messages, without really saying much.

For those who were asking her banal questions at the press conference after the final on her masks and names, she gave a reply which was laced with sarcasm.

Is Naomi Osaka really a Black? Well, one cannot say so, her father being a Haitian and mother Japanese. What matters is how she feels about all the episodes recently where Black Lives have been lost.

There has been condemnation and messages sent subtly as well as loudly from F1 champion Lewis Hamilton to others who took a knee before the cricket series in England. Osaka has shown with who her loyalties are, and that makes her a bigger heroine today in the USA.

This is not her first victory at the US Open. Yet, if one can understand her persona and the whole gamut of emotions in these difficult times, Osaka has shown she has immense mental strength. This is very different to the Osaka one saw in 2018.  

Where does she go from here? Well, she is the hottest tennis property in the world now. Her tennis and aura,  both are bold and beautiful. Good job champ.

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