Serena Williams is a diva. And that in the most positive sense of this term. She is brilliant in what she does – an exception on the tennis court, athletic beyond any doubt. In addition, it is eccentric, moody and at times dramatic. The kind of athlete personality that gets people going. Either way. Williams is probably the most famous female athlete in the world. Tennis couldn’t ask for a better representative.
Naomi Osaka is not a diva. In this case, however, this can only be assessed positively. The Japanese is also a gifted tennis player. Her triumph over Jennifer Brady in the Melbourne final on Saturday was already her fourth in a Grand Slam tournament. Away from the square, however, she is sociable, polite and at times downright shy. She has a fine, almost bizarre sense of humor. A personality who fascinates – albeit in a completely different way than the great Serena Williams.
When Osaka demystified her youth idol in two sets in the semifinals on Thursday, Williams left Melbourne in tears. She broke off the subsequent press conference after a few minutes sobbing. Many an observer wondered: was that it? Is the tennis queen returning to her throne?
Naomi Osaka has already taken over
Williams is 39 years old. She is a mother, married, a family man. She has been pursuing her 24th Grand Slam tournament title, the first after maternity leave and the last one she still lacks to set Margaret Court’s record, for four years without success. The thought that she could end her career at the end of the year doesn’t seem absurd, at least.
Especially since her successor has already taken over the scepter. Because Osaka is exactly that: the legitimate heiress of the “grande dame” of women’s tennis. On the one hand, because she has the sporting potential to become a constant in such changeable women’s tennis for the next few years. On the other hand, because it has the necessary charisma. The 23-year-old has what it takes to be a global superstar. In Asia, where she was born, and in America, where she grew up, she may already be.
Ultimately, Osaka is a modern tennis hero. Confident in style when dealing with social networks, feminist, self-confident and politically active. At the US Open, she wore a mask to every match, reminiscent of the victims of police violence in America. The fight against racism is important to her. She wants to use her celebrities to stand up for her beliefs. Tennis couldn’t ask for a better representative.