In 2015, the world was a simpler place.
The tennis Gods anointed Serena Williams catapulting her to win consecutive grand slam titles. Williams was the first woman to do so.
Now Naomi Osaka is the second.
Since Jennifer Capriati in 2001, she is the first woman to follow her maiden grand slam title by winning the next one.
Osaka’s 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Petra Kvitova, in the Australian Open finals, guarantees her place at the top of the sport. It also validated her victory over Serena Williams at the US Open. Osaka is no flash in the pan.
The youngest Williams sister is still on the chase for two grand slam titles to break the all-time record of 24. However, Osaka is well-placed to usurp her as the biggest player in the sport.
Going into 2018, Osaka was just another hopeful player with a buzz on the circuit. She was ranked number 72 and had not won a title. In 10 months, her accolades have matured winning three big tournaments: Indian Wells, the US Open and the Australian Open.
At the age of 21, she has two grand slam titles and will be ranked number one.
The timing couldn’t have been better for the Japanese-Haitian athlete who represents Japan on the virtual eve of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Osaka has also signed lucrative sponsorship deals pushing her athleticism all the way to the bank.
Osaka had already signed four sponsorship deals since the US Open. She made $2.95 million for winning in Melbourne taking her career earnings past $10 million. This does not include the Japanese market which will deliver major dividends in future earnings for Osaka.
With The French Open and Wimbledon ahead, Osaka is changing the game.