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"Wish I could've been there in the stands to see you win your 4th Major" - Rod Laver & others react to Naomi Osaka's win

Naomi Osaka kisses the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy after winning the 2021 Australian Open
Naomi Osaka kisses the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy after winning the 2021 Australian Open
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 21 Feb 2021
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Naomi Osaka's fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open on Saturday has been hailed as confirmation of her status as the best player in the women's game right now.

Osaka has now won four of the last nine Majors, having improved to 4-0 in Grand Slam finals (12-0 in Grand Slams where she has reached the quarterfinals). She is also one of just three players to win their first four Slam finals in the Open Era, joining Roger Federer and Monica Seles in the exclusive club.

While Naomi Osaka labelled her own win 'absolute madness', reactions have also been pouring in from several former tennis legends as well as some of her contemporaries.

11-time Slam champion Rod Laver, who missed attending the tournament that has named its biggest court after him, congratulated Naomi Osaka for the win on Twitter. Laver expressed his wish that he could have been in the stands at Melbourne Park while the Japanese superstar put the finishing touches on her dominant campaign.

The Aussie also had some encouraging words for the runner-up Jennifer Brady, who was playing her first Major final. Laver exhorted the American to 'keep striving', and assured her that she would continue finding success in the future.

Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert also sent out congratulatory tweets to Naomi Osaka.

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More recent WTA multiple Slam winners Mary Pierce and Kim Clijsters did the same.

Kei Nishikori and Victoria Azarenka among Naomi Osaka's peers to congratulate her for her Australian Open title

Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka at the 2018 US Open in New York City
Kei Nishikori and Naomi Osaka at the 2018 US Open in New York City
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In addition to former greats, several of Naomi Osaka's contemporaries also lauded the accomplishment of the Japanese star. Among those were countryman Kei Nishikori, former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka (who went down to Osaka in the 2020 US Open final) and Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, who the Japanese player defeated in the third round at this year's event in Melbourne.

Australia's Dylan Alcott, who won his seventh Australian Open quad singles title this fortnight, also sent a shout-out to Naomi Osaka for the win.

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With the win, Naomi Osaka will climb back up to No. 2 in the world rankings on Monday. She has extended her unbeaten streak to 21 matches, and will be hoping to perform well in the upcoming claycourt swing.

Published 21 Feb 2021, 16:00 IST
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