Brady: Profitable a slam is achievable
By Richard Pagliaro
Jennifer Brady, who was quarantined for 14 days in Melbourne last month, couldn't even open her hotel room window to fresh air.
After her 6: 4: 6: 3 defeat by Naomi Osaka in today's Australian Open final, Brady believes she has the opportunity to master a major.
More: Osaka beats Brady for the fourth Grand Slam Crown
Winning a major once seemed as realistic as a mission to Mars for the former UCLA All American. This journey to her first big final gave Brady, who describes winning a Grand Slam title as "absolutely achievable", a great deal of self-confidence.
"I think I belong at that level," said Brady. "I think winning a Grand Slam is absolutely achievable. It's within reach. You know, playing out there, obviously I was nervous, didn't go my way, but at the same time I got off the pitch, I was like: Okay that feels a little normal.
"It felt different than I expected. If you asked me a year ago I wouldn't think it was possible, or it would feel like it was going to Mars. So I would just say to feel more comfortable at this level, yes. "
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The 25-year-old American will climb to number 13 of her career on Monday, and while she doesn't schedule her big aspirations, Brady believes she has the game to win a Grand Slam.
"I'm not the one setting dates for things, but I'd say it would just happen when it happened," said Brady. "I don't plan on doing it at Wimbledon, you know, in 2021. Yes, it will happen when it happens. When it does, I'll be thrilled. If I get put in that position or give myself this opportunity I think , I'm ready for it. "
Understandably, nerves were a factor in Finale Brady's debut. On a windy day at Rod Laver Arena, Brady and Osaka only served 48 percent.
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The third-occupied Osaka supported their first and second serves more effectively and hit Brady's weaker backhand wing repeatedly at crucial points.
Even so, Brady can take confidence in the fact that she has recovered from the tough quarantine that prevented her from practicing for two weeks, did not give her best in either the semifinals or the final, but still made it through and hit a breakpoint at 4 -all held in the finals today. Had she converted, Brady would have served on the opening set.
Instead, she wants to build on that experience, strengthen her backhand wing, and reload for another big run.
"I've clearly had great results in the last six months or more than eight months. I think," said Brady. "From here I can only get better. I just have to have this experience from the last two, a couple of slams, and just work harder and improve day by day.
"And yes, I think the results show, you know, the work that you did. Yes, I can gain a lot of confidence in that."
Photo credit: Australian Open Facebook