“Reason Why Serena Is Where She Is”: Naomi Osaka Pays Homage to Venus Williams

Published 02/07/2021, 10:42 PM CST
HONG KONG, HONG KONG: Naomi Osaka of Japan (R) shakes hands with Venus Williams (L) after winning their second round women’s singles match during the Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open 2017 at Victoria Park in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images)


Naomi Osaka has made a stunning start to her 2021 Australian Open campaign. She defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets in the opening round of the Grand Slam and lost just three games on her way to victory. Having withdrawn from her semifinal match at the Gippsland Trophy due to a shoulder niggle, Osaka didn’t display any signs of injury during her first-round encounter.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first-round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Loren Elliott

In her post-match press conference, Osaka paid tribute to seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, who also advanced to the second round at Melbourne Park. Osaka hailed Venus as being a vital force behind the enormous success of her younger sister, Serena.

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Naomi Osaka pays respect to Venus Williams

Osaka revealed that being a little sister in her family, she expresses her fascination for Serena a lot more since the latter is also the younger of the siblings.

“Ironically, I actually interact with Venus more. I do talk about Serena a lot, but Venus is sort of the reason why Serena is where she is. Of course, I would love to pay homage to her. But I am being the sister, so I sort of just talk about Serena all the time, because she is also the little sister,” said Osaka.

The two-time US Open champion Osaka feels inspired by the passion Venus has for the sport and appreciated her contagious energy. Even at age 40, Venus is going strong and her longevity is commendable.

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“Whenever I see her, it’s really amazing to watch how much she loves tennis. She has this aura of loving the sport and this infectious energy,” added Osaka. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first-round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Interestingly, Osaka and Serena are in the same half of the draw and might face-off in the semifinals of the Australian Open. Osaka will play against Caroline Garcia in the second round; the duo will battle for the first time against each other.

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Serena eased past in straight sets in her first-round match and will lock horns with Nina Stojanovic in the second round. Williams is aiming to equal Margaret Court’s record of winning 24 Grand Slam titles and has gotten off to a great start in her bid to do so.

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Kshitij Tayal

395 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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