Naomi Osaka won the Australian Open on Saturday by beating American Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena.
Osaka, 23, now has four Grand Slam titles to her credit, adding to the 2018 and 2020 US Opens, plus her win in Australia in 2019. On a women’s circuit that has grown extremely deep—eight of the previous 17 majors had been won by first-time champions—Osaka has turned into a model of consistency.
The last woman not named Serena Williams to reach her fourth major was Maria Sharapova at Roland-Garros in 2012. And she did it without a pandemic dropping into her career.
“I think the thing that I’m most proud of is now mentally strong I’ve become. I used to be really up and down,” Osaka said before the match. “The quarantine process and seeing everything that’s going on in the world, for me it put a lot into perspective…I used to weigh my entire existence on if I won or lost a tennis match. That’s just now how I feel any more.”