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Naomi Osaka is an inspiration to young girls at home, but she is human: Jennifer Brady following Australian Open loss

Jennifer Brady (L) and Naomi Osaka
Jennifer Brady (L) and Naomi Osaka
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 20 Feb 2021
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Naomi Osaka won her fourth Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open on Saturday, beating Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

After the match, Brady had words of high praise for her opponent on the day. The American claimed that Osaka - who has now won two of the last three Australian Opens - is an inspiration to young players all over the world.

"I hope young girls at home are watching and inspired by what she's doing," Brady said during the presentation ceremony.

Jennifer Brady was extremely complimentary of Naomi Osaka in her post-match press conference too, although she did claim the Japanese is human like the rest of the field.

"I don't think there is anything intangible in her (Naomi Osaka) as a person," Brady said. "She's a human like all of us here. She's confident on her game but not God. Maybe only Serena (Williams) is? (laughs)."

The American went on to add that she was happy with her campaign in Melbourne, and that she felt like 'she belonged' in a Grand Slam final.

"I think I belong at this level. I think winning a Grand Slam is totally achievable. It’s within reach," Brady added. "Playing out there, obviously I was nervous, didn’t go my way, but at the same time coming off court, I was like, OK, that feels a little bit normal. It felt different than what I was expecting it to feel like."

Brady reflected at length about the improvements she has made over the last one year, before adding that she was 'a little bit sad' she couldn't walk away with the trophy.

"If you were to ask me maybe a year ago, I wouldn’t think it’s possible or it would feel like it’s, like, going to Mars," Brady said. "So I would say just being more comfortable at this level."
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"I'm pretty proud of myself, my team, for what we achieved here," she went on. "We came here, you know, and I reached my first Grand Slam final. But also, you know, I’m walking away with the runner-up trophy, not the winner’s trophy, so that’s a little bit sad. But I would say I’m pretty happy with my performance over the past couple weeks."

Naomi Osaka and her historic Australian Open 2021 campaign

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka's remarkable triumph in Melbourne makes her the just the third player - alongside Monica Seles and Roger Federer - to win their first four Grand Slam finals.

The Japanese is also just the seventh women's player ever to win the Australian Open title after saving match points during the course of the tournament. Osaka saved two of them in her fourth-round encounter against Garbine Muguruza.

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Naomi Osaka's win in Melbourne, which is part of a 21-match unbeaten run, has firmly established her status as the best hardcourt player on tour - if there was any doubt about it in the first place.

Published 20 Feb 2021, 19:32 IST
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