Naomi Osaka's Class Act After Winning the Historic US Open Final is Being Lauded by the Internet
'You played brilliantly and deserved the championship. I just am so sorry that you are not able to experience the joy that should accompany such an achievement.'
When 20-year-old Naomi Osaka lifted the trophy, it didn't feel very 'real'. The winner of the US open felt that she had robbed the US great Serena Williams who inspired her career of a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.
Osaka, in a historic first, became the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam singles title.
As the match became a matter of controversy, Osaka displayed a spectacular game and kept her poise - stealing the match comprehensively from Williams 6-2, 6-4.
But, during what was the greatest moment of her career, Osaka heard booing from a crowd still angry over the events. She pulled her visor down over her face because she didn't want the crowd to see her tears. Then, she apologised for winning the game.
On Monday, Osaka finally took to Twitter and expressed her gratitude for having the opportunity to play the finals.
"So there’s been a lot going on but I just want to say, I was grateful to have the opportunity to play on that stage yesterday. Thank you."
Twitterati backed the new champion and heaped praises for keeping it classy and showing humility in front of an emotionally charged crowd. "I watched your semis and finals. You stole all our hearts with your humbleness and endearing honesty and naivety. Please always be this way. Will follow your career from here on and will always be cheering you on," wrote one user.
Earlier, Williams was enraged by umpire Carlos Ramos's warning for receiving coaching from her box.
Things took an ugly turn when a second code violation for racquet abuse was handed out to Williams — along with a point penalty — she exploded. She tearfully accused the official of being a "thief" and angrily demanded an apology from the official.
"You're attacking my character," she said. "You will never, ever be on another court of mine. You are the liar," she fumed and Ramos handed her a game penalty for a third violation — verbal abuse — that put Osaka one game from victory at 5-3 in the second set.
Osaka's historic win eventually turned bitter when the pro-Williams crowd booed the trophy ceremony announcer and she was reduced to tears.
Her idol, Williams, soon came to her rescue and urged the crowd to show the young champion respect. "This is her first Grand Slam. Let's make this the best moment we can."
"It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open finals," Osaka said, turning to Williams herself. "I'm really grateful I was able to play with you, thank you."