MELBOURNE, Australia — The most uncomfortable moment for Naomi Osaka on Saturday night was not when she faced a key break point in the first set of her Australian Open women’s singles final against Jennifer Brady. Nor was it when she was serving for the match in the second.
It came two hours after she closed out her 6-4, 6-3 victory at Rod Laver Arena. At the start of her news conference, Craig Tiley, the head of Tennis Australia, handed Osaka a flute of champagne and proposed a toast to her second Australian Open crown and fourth Grand Slam title.
Osaka, 23, brought the glass to her lips and tentatively took a sip, trying unsuccessfully to keep her expression neutral. She has never developed a taste for alcohol, she had explained earlier in the tournament, because she was told as a child that it was bad for her.
“Like it’s ruining your body or your liver,” she said. “I just want to give myself an advantage for as long as I can.”saka, the pride of Japan who spent much of her childhood in Florida, would appear to have a leg up on the rest of her competition in an increasingly deep women’s game. She is 4 for 4 in Grand Slam finals, a feat achieved in the Open era only by Monica Seles on her way to nine total championships and Roger Federer on his way to 20.