Former professional tennis player and noted sports broadcaster Mary Carillo says that Naomi Osaka finding her voice during the current tennis shutdown and Serena Williams' chase for a record 24th Grand Slam singles title are two of the storylines that fascinate her these days in tennis.
Mary Carillo says Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka are incredible people to study
Carillo is a former WTA player who reached the Top 40 in the world rankings and also won the French Open mixed doubles title with John McEnroe in 1977.
Since then, she has become one of the top sports broadcasters and in 2018, she was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. In an interview to the WTA Tour website, Carillo spoke about Naomi Osaka's coming of age in recent months during the pandemic.
"Here's a kid who seems shy and socially awkward and has a sly sense of humor that goes over a lot of our heads, including mine. But I think she has truly found her voice during this pandemic. I think she has had plenty of time to think about her own personal power and what she can do with it, the value of her words and her actions.
This kid could march in Minneapolis, marched in L.A., is speaking to not just an American audience, but a Japanese audience and a black audience. This kid has decided, all right I can take this on. I've got things to say, I feel things that I want people to know."
Carillo adds that Serena Williams' quest for a 24th Grand Slam singles title at the upcoming US Open in New York will also be a big storyline to follow. "I mean, obviously, if the U.S. Open happens, Serena will be a big storyline.
Will she get her 24. So obviously, she's fascinating. Serena and Naomi are incredible people to get to study and try to understand these things." Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles in her career, the most in the Open Era and one short of the all-time record held by Australia's Margaret Court.
Naomi Osaka is a two-time winner at the Grand Slams including the 2018 US Open and took a major stand against racism during the Black Lives Matter movement in recent months.