Naomi Osaka, the Japanese professional tennis player who won the U.S. Open last year, won her second straight Grand Slam title on Saturday after a riveting match against the Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova.
Osaka dropped to her knees following her 7–6 (2), 5–7, 6–4 victory over Kvitova during the Australian Open final, receiving the audience's roar of approval and a standing ovation.
Osaka is the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win her first two championship titles consecutively. Born in Japan and raised in the U.S. by a Haitian father and a Japanese mother, Osaka became the first Japanese No. 1 player in the world at only 21-years-old.
While claiming her trophy on the champion's stage, Osaka admitted that public speaking isn't one of her strong suits. Her command of the game and her public persona are strikingly different, as her shyness juxtaposes the power she exudes while on the court. “I had dreams that I would win this tournament,” Osaka said during her post-match press conference. “Every time I have a dream, somehow I accomplish it. Still, I feel like it’s a very strange moment, like it’s not necessarily real.”
Osaka earned her first Grand Slam title in September 2018 while facing off against the legendary Serena Williams. The match was mired in controversy as the umpire exhibited poor decision making after penalizing Williams for allegedly being coached during the game. Williams proceeded to get frustrated with the umpire's call, prompting her to address him directly for which she received another penalty.
Tennis legends and icons alike took to Twitter to congratulate Osaka on her win.