MELBOURNE, Australia - 2019 Australian Open champion and newly-minted WTA World No.1 Naomi Osaka joins the WTA Insider Podcast to reflect on her hard-fought title-run in Melbourne, which saw her defeat three Top 10 players to become the first woman in nearly 18 years to win her first two majors titles back-to-back.
"I called my mom after I did all the press," Osaka said on the WTA Insider Podcast. "She didn't even say congratulations. She just yelled at me to go to sleep. So I felt really loved," she said with a smile.
"I feel like for the past two years, all I really wanted to do was to be in the Top 10 because I thought that's how you make a name for yourself. To be in this position now is really unreal. I feel like I want to do well during the entire year and not just the hardcourt tournaments."
Hear Osaka's full interview on the WTA Insider Podcast Champions Corner below:
The 21-year-old's 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-4 win over Petra Kvitova in Saturday's final ensured Osaka would become the first Asian player - man or woman - to hold the singles No.1 ranking and the youngest since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010 to debut at the WTA top spot. Osaka takes over the No.1 position from reigning Roland Garros champion Simona Halep, who held the No.1 spot for 48 consecutive weeks.
"It's always been pretty simple," Osaka said. "My goal was of course to be the best tennis player that I can be. I don't think everyone else can follow my path, everyone has their own paths. That's what makes life interesting. The fame stuff is something that's not my favorite part. I think that comes with all of this and I feel like if you do well of course that will always come.
"But for me I've always been a tennis player, and that is always going to be the thing that is the biggest in my heart."
Osaka's fast ascent to No.1 began last spring with her dominant run to her first career title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. Dropping just one set, Osaka's wins included marquee victories over Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Karolina Pliskova, then-No.1 Simona Halep, and Daria Kasatkina.
Osaka then bounced-back from a disappointing clay and grass season to take New York by storm, again losing just one set en route to the US Open title, with wins over Serena Williams, Madison Keys, and Aryna Sabalenka.
Osaka may just be 21-years-old, but her maturity has grown in spades since becoming the first Japanese player to win a singles major title. Osaka came into Melbourne - where she was ranked No.72 12 months ago - having made the semifinals or better at 4 of her last 5 events (US Open title, Tokyo final, China Open semifinal, Brisbane semifinal). That consistency made her one of 11 eleven women who could leave Melbourne with the No.1 ranking.
Two weeks later, she stands alone at the top of the women's game, the youngest active multiple major winner.
"Actually it wasn't winning those tournaments [that made me believe], it was after the US Open," Osaka said. "Because after Indian Wells I had this huge slump. And then I felt after I won the US Open I learned from that and I was able to do well in all the other tournaments. I think for me that was the biggest improvement mentally."
"It felt really overwhelming. I didn't really think I would be in this position so soon again. So definitely I just had a lot of emotions."