Naomi Osaka has changed a lot in the past 12 months — but this might be her biggest makeover yet.
The Japanese tennis star is still celebrating her win over Jennifer Brady on the weekend to claim a second Australian Open crown — and fourth grand slam title overall — and has decided to get a little creative with her locks.
Osaka took to social media on Thursday to show off a bold new look that featured straight, bright pink hair and pink eye shadow — a far cry from her usual brown, curly locks she pulls back into a ponytail when she’s on the court.
There’s a possibility the world No. 2 was testing out a wig just to see what going pink for a day would feel like, but it looks pretty legitimate to us as a dye job.
Osaka referenced Japanese Manga character Sakura in her post and Olympic sprinting legend Usain Bolt was a fan, commenting on Instagram: “U wore it better @naomiosaka lol.”
Osaka thumped Brady 6-4 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday night before her victory speech drew attention because of an awkward, unintentional blooper.
After asking Brady whether she preferred to be called Jennifer or Jenny, the American answered “Jenny”. However, Osaka turned back to the microphone and opened with: “Firstly, I want to congratulate Jennifer.”
The accidental one-liner made the internet crack up but while the snub may have added insult to injury, the four-time major winner was horrified to learn she’d completely ignored Brady’s direction.
Taking to Twitter on Sunday, Osaka wrote “OMG no” with crying and sad emojis.
“I promise you my mind thought I called her Jenny in that moment and I was so confused why the crowd was laughing. I’m so sorry,” she said.
During her post-match press conference, Osaka promised not to be weighed down by “pressure and expectation” after her latest victory sparked talk she could end up winning 10 grand slams.
Osaka became only the third player after Monica Seles and Roger Federer to win their first four major finals, and has risen to No. 2 in the world rankings.
The 23-year-old sensation is now seen as the dominant force in women’s tennis, a view shared by seven-time slam winner Mats Wilander, who believes Osaka can win 10 grand slams.
“I’m taking it in sections. For right now, I’m trying to go for five,” Osaka said, when asked about Wilander’s comment. “After five I would think about maybe dividing the 10, so maybe seven or eight. I don’t like to take things big-picture. For me, I like to live in the moment.
“It’s an honor that he said that. But I don’t want to weigh myself down with pressure and expectations.”