Anime, pizza, sleep: low-key celebration for Japan’s Osaka

by AFP/ AFP FILE PIX

Japan’s Naomi Osaka said she’s living her “dreams” Saturday after defeating Jennifer Brady to win the Australian Open, adding that she’ll celebrate with anime and pizza.

The 23-year-old won her fourth Grand Slam title after a comfortable 6-4, 6-3 victory in 77 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.

Osaka, who will rise to second on the world rankings, becomes only the third player after Monica Seles and Roger Federer to win their first four major finals.

Having grown up watching the Australian Open at “crazy hours” in the United States, Osaka said it felt “surreal” to triumph for the second time at Melbourne Park.

“I’m really just living my dreams,” she told Channel Nine.

“I’m always shaking a little bit (at the end). Thank God I had three match points.”

Reinforcing her reputation herself as tennis’s leading light, having won four of her last eight Slams she’s played, Osaka warned she was not satisfied.

“I take every tournament seriously,” she said.

“I just want to be consistent and that is my main goal this year.”

Amid an uncertain upcoming schedule, Osaka said she hoped to play the Tokyo Olympics.

“Everyone knows I wanted to play in the Olympics since I was a kid and hopefully it goes through,” she said.

But after her triumph, Osaka planned a low-key celebration.

“I’m probably going to watch some anime… maybe (eat) pizza… and go to sleep,” she said.

Osaka edged a tight first set and broke the American twice in the second to win 6-4, 6-3 in 77 minutes in front of thousands of fans at Rod Laver Arena.

Third seed Osaka preserves her 100 percent record in Grand Slam finals after winning the 2018 and 2020 US Opens and the 2019 title in Melbourne.

The 23-year-old, who also becomes the first woman since Monica Seles to win her first four major finals, will now rise to second in the world rankings.

Osaka, rated as the world’s top-earning female athlete, saved two match points in the fourth round against Garbine Muguruza before going on to lift the trophy.

Osaka, who also beat her idol Serena Williams in straight sets in the semi-finals, has not lost a match in more than a year.