The pandemic has made us lose track of time a bit, so I don’t remember exactly the date that Naomi Osaka was training at the Rafa Nadal Academy in our town, Manacor, causing the logical commotion among the tennis players who are preparing here and between local users who met her at the on-site gym.
It was no surprise that she was proclaimed champion of the Australian Open. I already mentioned a few days ago that the Japanese started as the most fit player on the circuit and her performance throughout the tournament has shown this. The exception to their resounding results was their match in the round of 16 against Garbiñe Muguruza, the only one who has been able to put her in serious trouble and push her to the limit.
The Japanese player, however, was confirmed both in her semifinal match against Serena Williams and in the final against Jennifer Brady as the new star of women’s tennis. He stands out for the power of his groundstrokes, for the intensity of his game and for his great ability to generate winning shots. He has a great drive, a good backhand, a devastating first serve and, above all, four Grand Slams in his showcase, achieved in four consecutive years, with only 23 years.
There are strong arguments, then, to qualify her as the successor or the natural replacement not only of Serena Williams, but also of the recently retired Maria Sharapova. Like the two of them, Naomi is also running as a great commercial claim for many brands.
Aside from very attractive tennis, he has a powerful physique, multi-ethnic features and a strong personality. And he actively supported the anti-racist movement in the United States, the country in which he grew up, joining the boycott that different sports personalities carried out to condemn the shots that Jacob Blake received by the police, thus consolidating himself as a highly desirable image .
But in tennis, as in all sports, the claim and what really fills the stands are the classic duels more than the great athletes. We fans of our sport have always wanted to see matches between Björn Borg and Jimmy Connors; between Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe; between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi; or in the more modern stage, between Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal; Those of us who follow football want to see a Barça-Madrid; and in European competitions we are attracted to clashes with fearsome and prestigious teams such as Manchester City or Bayern Munich.
The sports spectator is nourished by feeling like a participant, by taking sides for one or another player, for one or another team and for the emotion that tight rivalries provide, games with unpredictable results and a certain stability in athletes. The fan claims certain guarantees.
And this is what I would like to see happen in women’s tennis: the appearance of a few tennis players who give stability and increasing appeal to WTA matches. I wish Muguruza to be confirmed as one of them. And I presume that it will. Remember that you were one ball away from getting rid of the brand new winner of this Australian Open.