When I step on court, I’m not a Serena fan: Naomi Osaka after US Open triumph

first_imgNaomi Osaka’s maiden Grand Slam triumph was overshadowed by a teary-eyed, angry and raged Serena Williams as a drama-filled women’s singles final was played out at the US Open in Flushing Meadows.Osaka had grown up on Serena’s tennis and idiolised her to the extent of saying ‘I love you’ to her ahead of the biggest moment of her career. However, by the end, Osaka was reduced to tears, not because she had won but because of the controversy surrounding Serena.Serena first got into an argument with the chair umpire Carlos Ramos after he gave her a warning as he spotted her coach Patrick Mouratoglou making some hand signals from the player’s box.She was then given a point penalty for smashing her racket and then she was handed a game violation after she called the umpire a “liar” and a “thief”.Despite all of that, Osaka held her nerves, served out the match 6-2, 6-4 to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title and then let her emotions take over.US OPEN 2018 WOMEN’S FINAL: REPORT | HIGHLIGHTS | PHOTOSStanding at the podium, waiting for the presentation to start, Osaka lowered her cap teary-eyed with all the boos around the court.”Everyone was cheering for her, I am sorry it had to end like this,” Osaka said during the on-court trophy presentation. “It was always my dream to play Serena in the U.S. Open finals so I am just so glad I was able to do that.”advertisementUndoubtedly Osaka was the better player on the day. Right from the start, Osaka came out with a purpose and she fulfilled it even amidst a hoard of distractions.”I really didn’t hear anything that was going on … I felt like I really had to focus during this match because she’s such a great champion, and I know that she can come back from any point,” Osaka told reporters.”I was just trying to focus on myself at that time.”As Osaka held on to the trophy, there was only a little smile on her face. She did not look happy instead the 20-year-old was devastated by how things had unfolded around her moment of glory and had spoiled it.Her hollow heart did not leave her even after the trophy presentation and perhaps it is this genuineness and innocence that has made her an endearing figure.”She really wanted to have the 24th Grand Slam, right? Everyone knows this. It’s on the commercials, it’s everywhere,” said Osaka.”When I step on the court, I’m not a Serena fan – I’m just a tennis player playing another tennis player. But when I hugged her at the net, I felt like a little kid again.”@Naomi_Osaka_ lets us into her heart…#USOpen pic.twitter.com/GlCigEQUivUS Open Tennis (@usopen) September 9, 2018″Like, 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… [Osaka went quite, holding back her tears] Anyway, when I hugged her at the net, I felt like a little kid again.”This was Osaka’s first Grand Slam final and experts wondered how she would react to the pressure of the big stage but in the end, it was Serena who said she would take lessons from this match.”She was so focused. I think, you know, whenever I had a break point, she came up with some great serve,” said Williams.”Honestly, there’s a lot I can learn from her from this match. I hope to learn a lot from that.”(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more