Naomi Osaka: I’m always going to remember the Serena that I love

Shahida Jacobs
Naomi Osaka crying with Serena Williams

The on-court controversy took some of the shine off the biggest moment in her tennis career, but Naomi Osaka continued to gush over her idol Serena Williams after the match.

Osaka made history as she became the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam when she beat Williams 6-2, 6-4 in the US Open final.

However, it was a drama-filled match as the 23-time Grand Slam winner was handed a code violation for coaching, a penalty point for racket abuse and a game penalty for calling umpire Carlos Ramos a “liar and a thief”.

The 20-year-old Osaka, though, kept her composure during the arguments to win her first major.

After the match she was asked about the incident, but said: “I didn’t really hear anything because I had my back turned.”

During the post-match press conference she insisted that she insisted that her views of Williams won’t change after the final.

“I know that she really wanted to have the 24th Grand Slam, right?” she said. “Everyone knows this. It’s on the commercials, it’s everywhere. When I step onto the court, I feel like a different person, right? I’m not a Serena fan. I’m just a tennis player playing another tennis player.

“But then when I hugged her at the net. When I hugged her at the net, I felt like a little kid again,” she added fighting back the tears.

She continued: “When I was growing up, I did a whole report on her in third grade. I coloured it and everything. I said, ‘I want to be like her.’

“For me, I’m always going to remember the Serena that I love. It doesn’t change anything for me. She was really nice to me at the net and on the podium. I don’t really see what would change.”