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"Definitely something crazy to hear" - Naomi Osaka after joining Roger Federer & Monica Seles in exclusive club

Naomi Osaka poses with the 2021 Australian Open trophy
Naomi Osaka poses with the 2021 Australian Open trophy
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Modified 23 Feb 2021
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Naomi Osaka's Australian Open triumph over the weekend extended her unbeaten record in Grand Slam finals to 4-0. That put the 23-year-old in elite company, as she joined Roger Federer and Monica Seles to become the only players in the Open Era to win their first four Grand Slam finals.

Not surprisingly, Naomi Osaka was delighted to learn about the unique achievement.

"My reaction is that that's very amazing company," Naomi Osaka responded when she was made aware of the record. "I hope that I can have one grain of how their career has unfolded. You can only wish and you can only just keep going down your own path. But it's definitely something crazy to hear."

While both Roger Federer and Monica Seles started by winning their first four Grand Slam finals, neither player was able to maintain their 100% record on the biggest stage. Federer went on to extend his streak to seven Grand Slam finals, before losing to Rafael Nadal in the 2006 French Open final.

Seles, on the other hand, won the first six Grand Slam finals she contested, before losing to Steffi Graf in the 1992 Wimbledon singles final. She ended her career with a 9-4 record in Major finals while Federer, who is set to return to the men's tour next month, has a 20-11 record in Slam finals at this point.

Naomi Osaka also among select group of women in tennis history to have never lost a Grand Slam final

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka

While neither Roger Federer nor Monica Seles was able to maintain their 100% record in Grand Slam finals, there have been a few players prior to the Open ERa who went undefeated in Grand Slam finals throughout their career.

Five women, who played prior to 1968, recorded perfect records in Slam finals (considering minimum five finals reached). Maureen Connolly, fondly known as "Little Mo", leads this stat with a perfect 9-0 record in Grand Slam finals.

Connolly won nine Majors in the 1950s, including all four in 1953. The American's career ended abruptly at the young age of 19 when she injured her leg in a horseback riding accident.

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France's Suzanne Lenglen also went undefeated in Slam finals (8-0), as did Lottie Dod, Daphne Akhurst and Alice Marble (5-0 each).

It remains to be seen how much further Naomi Osaka can go when it comes to maintaining her 100% record in Major finals. But the fact that she is so far unbeaten in not just finals, but also semifinals and quarterfinals, bodes well for her future in big matches.

Published 23 Feb 2021, 11:32 IST
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