Naomi Osaka, half-Japanese and half-Haitian is the world’s number one ranked female player.Winner of the Australian Open, she has jumped to the top of women’s tennis with her beaten opponent Petra Kvitova rising to second in Monday’s WTA rankings.
Osaka climbed three places after beating the Czech in Melbourne on Saturday. Kvitova moved up four places.
The 21-year-old Japanese player has only won three career titles, but those include the last two majors, after she won the US Open in September.
She is changing the discourse in Japan, a country that has deeply embedded notions of racial purity.
"Huge congrats to Petra. I've always wanted to play you. You've been through so much, honestly I wouldn't have wanted this to be our first match."@Naomi_Osaka_ is all class 🙏#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/8WxY6PVNc2
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 26, 2019
To call Osaka the first “Asian” world number one, is perhaps as accurate as it is to call Barack Obama America’s first “black” president. At 21, Osaka is the youngest No. 1 in nearly a decade; Caroline Wozniacki was 20 when she first ascended to that spot in 2010.And to think, a year ago, Osaka was ranked 72nd.
The victory earned Osaka her second grand slam championship. In September, she defeated Serena Williams in a controversial match.“Definitely she is a great one,” said Kvitova, who’s a two-time grand slam champion herself. She is the first player from Japan to hold the No. 1 ranking, writes Quartz.