Not long ago, Jennifer Brady thought reaching a Grand Slam final was as far-fetched as "going to Mars" -- but she said a major win no longer seems impossible after finishing runner-up at the Australian Open.
The American 22nd seed said a Grand Slam victory now felt "totally achievable" after her maiden major final, despite falling in straight sets to Japan's Naomi Osaka.
"I think I belong at this level. I think winning a Grand Slam is totally achievable. It's within reach," said Brady after her first Slam decider.
"Obviously I was nervous, didn't go my way, but at the same time coming off court, I was like, OK, that feels a little bit normal."
"If you were to ask me maybe a year ago, I wouldn't think it's possible or it would feel like it's, like, going to Mars," she added.
Brady has had the best run of her career since tennis returned from its coronavirus shutdown, winning her first WTA title and reaching the US Open semi-finals -- where she also lost to Osaka.
She reached the Melbourne final despite undergoing 14 days' hard quarantine in Australia, forced to stay in her room while other players were allowed out every day to train.
"I made my first Grand Slam final, so maybe if I wasn't in quarantine I would have won," she smiled, adding that she had "mixed feelings" about the match.
"I'm pretty proud of myself, my team, for what we achieved here. We came here and I reached my first Grand Slam final," she said.
"But also I'm walking away with the runner-up trophy, not the winner's trophy, so that's a little bit sad."