sport news Naomi Osaka could be the leading figure women's tennis has been waiting for ...

After her US Open triumph and fortnight of campaigning on social justice issues in the US... Naomi Osaka could just be the leading figure women's tennis has been waiting for

By Mike Dickson for the Daily Mail

Published: 15:35 BST, 13 September 2020 | Updated: 17:18 BST, 13 September 2020

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Through her words and deeds of recent months, both on and off the court, Naomi Osaka has shown that she could be the leading figure women's tennis has been waiting for.

Her third Grand Slam title, achieved at the US Open on Saturday night with a stirring comeback against Victoria Azarenka, suggested that she is a champion who could become the first female serial winner of Majors since Serena Williams.

More than that, her now well-documented campaigning on social justice issues demonstrated that she is a person unafraid to back away from standing up for principles that are important to her.

Naomi Osaka won her second US Open with victory on Saturday against Victoria Azarenka

Naomi Osaka won her second US Open with victory on Saturday against Victoria Azarenka

Osaka has worn a mask before every match in New York bearing the names of black people killed in violent interactions with either police or others

Osaka has worn a mask before every match in New York bearing the names of black people killed in violent interactions with either police or others

These go way beyond the parochial confines of tennis, although it must be hoped that she is also prepared to lead on matters affecting the game, as previous generations of women players have done.

An early test of this comes with unusual speed, in the form of the French Open, and whether or not she is prepared to support the efforts to keep the sport going in difficult times.

Her initial reaction was not entirely promising: 'I was planning to play when I came here (to Flushing Meadows), but I guess I'll see what happens,' she said after lifting the trophy and the $3million (£2.3m) cheque that comes with it.

Osaka did not confirm whether she would play in the French Open in Paris in two weeks time

Osaka did not confirm whether she would play in the French Open in Paris in two weeks time

Faced with a trip to Europe, the uncertainties around the wider situation in Paris ahead of the September 27 start – not to mention an abrupt change of surface

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