MELBOURNE: US Open winner Naomi Osaka admitted on Saturday that she was naturally shy and said one of her key goals in the off-season had been to work on her confidence and become more mature.
The likable 21-year-old Japanese was catapulted into the global spotlight when she won the US Open last year, beating Serena Williams, whose tantrum at the umpire in the final almost overshadowed her achievement.
The breakthrough made her a new standard bearer for tennis in her homeland, Asia and the next generation of women, and she is working hard on living up to the hype.
While focusing on her game during the off-season, she has also been concentrating on better dealing with the off-court responsibilities that come with being a major winner.
“For me one of my biggest goals is to be more mature, like to mature as a person,” she said ahead of her opening round clash at the Australian Open against Poland’s Magda Linette next week.
“And I feel like in a way I am, but in other parts I’m very, like, three years old mentality, you know? I feel like just levelling that out is one of my biggest goals I had during the off-season.”
Winning in Flushing Meadows has meant Osaka now has to do far more media, and her confidence in that department is growing.
But she admits to still struggling in one-on-one situations.
“I mean, in press I feel comfortable because I’m being asked questions,” she said, when it was noted that she seems more relaxed in media conferences.
“But you know when you have to do small talk, like, ‘hello, how are you?’, after that, I don’t know what to do.”
Asked what she does in those situations, she replied: “I go, ‘uhm, okay’, then I walk away.
“But, yeah, I mean, I feel like I’m more comfortable talking to people,” she added. “I’ve sort of been put in the position that I have to. It’s not something I can avoid any more.”
Shane Watson named Player of PSL 2019
LAHORE: Shane Watson of Quetta Gladiators was named as the Player of HBL PSL 2019 after the 2007 World Cup winner with Australia finished as the leading run-getter in the 32-day tournament, which culminated at the National Stadium on late Sunday.
Watson finished the series with 430 runs from 12 matches at an average of 43 and a strike-rate of 143.8. He clubbed most number of fours and sixes in the tournament, 43 and 22, respectively, said the information made available here.
Watson won player of the match awards against Islamabad United, when he scored 81 not out, Peshawar Zalmi, when he scored 91 not out, and again versus Peshawar Zalmi in the Qualifier, when he top-scored with 71 and then bowled the crucial last-over of the match to help his side win by 10 runs.
Watson, for his consistency with the bat and proving to be one of the decisive factors in Gladiators’ title-winning campaign, was also declared Brighto Best Batsman of HBL PSL 2019.
Hasan Ali of Peshawar Zalmi was adjudged the Go Lootlo Best Bowler of HBL PSL 2019. The fast bowler picked up crucial wickets and finished the series with 25 wickets at an average of 13 with an economy-rate of just under seven.
Hasan took four wickets in a match three times.
Luke Ronchi won the Jubilee Safe Hands of HBL PSL 2019 award when he dismissed 11 batsmen behind the stumps, while Peshawar Zalmi’s Kieron Pollard was declared the ARIAL and J. Best Player on the Field, when he finished the series with 284 runs, five wickets and 10 catches.
Karachi Kings’ left-arm spinner Umer Khan was named as the newly introduced Emerging Player of HBL PSL 2019 award. The 18-year-old mesmerised the top-order of all the sides and claimed 15 prized scalps at an economy-rate of just over 7.
Islamabad United was declared the winner of Cool & Cool Spirit of Cricket award, which they dedicated to their middle-order batsman Asif Ali in recognition to this commitment to the team despite the ailment of his young daughter.
The individual winners were chosen by an independent panel, which included Mudassar Nazar (Chairman, Event Technical Committee), and also comprised respected commentators Ramiz Raja and Danny Morrison.
Winners are, Cool & Cool Spirit of Cricket;Islamabad United, Emerging Player of HBL PSL 2019; Umer Khan (Karachi Kings), ARIAL and J. Best player on the field; Kieron Pollard (Peshawar Zalmi), Jubilee Safe Hands of HBL PSL 2019; Luke Ronchi (Islamabad United), Go Lootlo Best Bowler of HBL PSL 2019; Hasan Ali (Peshawar Zalmi),Brighto Best Batsman of HBL PSL 2019; Shane Watson (Quetta Gladiators), HBL Player of PSL 2019; Shane Watson (Quetta Gladiators).
Japan’s ‘Uncle Olympics’ fan dies just short of 2020 Games
TOKYO: A Japanese Olympic mega-fan who attended every summer games since Tokyo in 1964 has died, just over a year before his home city was to host its second Olympics.
Tokyo businessman Naotoshi Yamada, 92, who died on March 9 from heart failure, was a national celebrity in his own right with his repeated, gleeful appearances in Olympic stands.
“Uncle Olympics”, as he came to be known, was an omnipresent fixture for Japanese TV watchers cheering on the Japan team at the “Greatest Show On Earth”.
Often sporting a gold top hat, kimono, and a beaming smile, Yamada also became a darling of the international media.
“After 92 years of his life spent cheering, Naotoshi Yamada, international Olympic cheerleader, was called to eternal rest on March 9, 2019,” said his web site, managed by a firm he founded.
Born in 1926, Yamada built a successful wire rope manufacturing business, and also expanded his portfolio to include the hotel and real estate sectors.
But away from work, his passion was for sport, particularly the Olympics.
He did not miss a summer games since 1964, taking in Mexico City, Munich, Montreal, Moscow, Los Angeles, Seoul, Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro.
For good measure, he also attended the winter games when it rolled into Nagano in 1998, and told local media of his strong desire to attend the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Yamada saw the first Tokyo Olympics when he was 38.
But his passion was truly ignited during the 1968 Mexico City Games, according to his website.
He donned a kimono and a sombrero hat and loudly cheered for a Mexican 5000-metre runner, mistaking him for a Japanese athlete.
Local spectators embraced the scene and loudly cheered for Japanese athletes in return, leading to an electrifying show of support that went beyond nationality, his website said.
“He saw the awesome power of cheering, and was mesmerised by it ever since,” it said.
Cricket PSL IV Final: Quetta beats Peshawar to become Champions!
KARACHI: Quetta Gladiators beat 3-time finalists Peshawar Zalmi by 8 wickets to fetch the championship for the first time.
People from all over the Metropolis and beyond converged today at the National Stadium here to witness the clash of Peshawar Zalmi with Quetta Gladiators.
The star-studded closing ceremony commenced with a moment of silence observed to pay respects to the victims of the NZ Mosques ‘massacre. Following the National Anthem, 30,000 aficionados made the stadium reverberate with Pakistan Zindabaad slogans.
Quetta won the toss and, keeping the dampness in mind, asked Peshawar to bat first.
Peshawar Zalmi sets 139 target for Quetta Gladiators
Quetta Gladiators: SR Watson, Ahmed Shehzad, Ahsan Ali, RR Rossouw, Umar Akmal, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c, wk), DJ Bravo, Mohammad Nawaz, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Hasnain, Fawad Ahmed, Anwar Ali, Danish Aziz, MTC Waller, Mohammad Irfan, DR Smith, Azam Khan, Saud Shakeel.
Peshawar Zalmi: Kamran Akmal (wk), Imamul Haq, KA Pollard, Sohaib Maqsood, DJG Sammy (c), Wahab Riaz, CJ Jordan, Hasan Ali, TS Mills, Umar Amin, Nabi Gul, Khalid Usman, Misbahul Haq, Umaid Asif, ADS Fletcher, LA Dawson, Ibtisam Sheikh, LMP Simmons.