Before the winners of the Australian Open are announced to the tennis world, the global animal welfare body, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), has named its men’s and women’s champions.
PETA has framed awards in the names of women’s finalist Naomi Osaka and rising Italian star Jannik Sinner for the kindness they showed in dealing with wildlife creatures that impeded their play at Melbourne Park.
Jannik Sinner was applauded for lifting a moth to safety during his opening-round defeat to Denis Shapovalov
In his opening-round defeat to Canadian Denis Shapovalov, the 32-ranked Sinner called a halt to play after spotting a moth landing on the turf.
The Italian then proceeded to lift it carefully with his racquet and park the insect by the chair umpire. The act won him a round of applause from the crowd.
Naomi Osaka stopped her match against Ons Jabeur to tend to a butterfly that was sitting on her leg
In a similar act of compassion towards animals, the Japanese World Number 3 was alerted to a butterfly that was sitting on her leg during her third-round battle against Tunisian Ons Jabeur.
Osaka, who was just about to wind up for a serve at the time, allowed herself some minutes to show the insect out of harm’s way before getting back to action. Again, the act was greeted by claps and cheers from the stands.
While Sinner’s campaign ended in the first round and Osaka’s will be decided later on Saturday, PETA said it had already crowned them champions for their love, compassion, and generosity towards creatures of the wild during the tournament.
The show of benevolence has probably added millions of animal lovers to the list of followers on their social media handles.
The Shapovalov clash went to five sets, with the Italian finishing on the losing side after a determined fight. Osaka, on the other hand, has had an incredible run to the final and is in sight of a repeat of her 2019 championship win at the Australian Open.
Barring her fourth-round victory over Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan, the reigning US Open champion hasn’t dropped a set in her march to the title round.
After dropping her opening service game against 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the semifinal, Osaka dished out a clinical performance to consign the 39-year-old American to another failed Grand Slam campaign.