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Naomi Osaka on post-match embrace with Serena Williams: 'I felt like a little kid again'

Andrew Hendrie in WTA Tour 9 Sep 2018
  • Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams both delivered memorable press conferences for different reasons following their controversial U.S. Open final
  • Osaka fought back tears as she described the emotion of beating her idol to win a first major title
  • Serena stood by her claims that umpire Carlos Ramos' decision to dock her a game was "a sexist remark"
Naomi Osaka in her post-match press conference (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has won more hearts during an emotional press conference after securing her first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open, revealing ‘she felt like a little kid again’ when she hugged her idol Serena Williams following their controversial final on Saturday.

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In a final that was marred with controversy after Williams was handed a game penalty for repeated infringements and verbal tirades towards umpire Carlos Ramos, the 20-year-old Osaka displayed maturity beyond her tender years to close out the match in style and become the first Japanese player in history to win a Grand Slam title.

Naomi Osaka (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


After enduring a chorus of boos from American tennis fans inside Arthur Ashe Stadium during the on-court trophy presentation and feeling the need to apologise before being consoled by Williams, Osaka not long after found herself in the more forgiving surroundings of the press room - although the tears still flowed freely when discussing what she just achieved - beating her idol for a maiden major and denying Williams a record-tying 24th Grand Slam trophy.

“I know she (Serena) really wants to have the 24th Grand Slam,” she said. “Everyone knows this. When I step onto the court, I feel like a different person. 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 I felt like a little kid again,” Osaka finished through tears.



Having never been beyond the fourth round of a major before arriving in New York two weeks ago, Osaka can now add the U.S. Open title to the Premier Mandatory Indian Wells crown she won earlier this season.

However, Osaka said the realisation that she’s just made history for both herself and her country has yet to really sink in.

"It doesn't really feel that real right now," Osaka continued. "I think maybe in a few days I'll realise what I've done. Right now it just feels, like, I don't know. Aside from the fact there's a lot of press in this room, it feels just like another tournament."
Serena Williams argues with umpire Carlos Ramos (Photo by Jaime Lawson/Getty Images for USTA)
Meanwhile, Williams stood by her belief that umpire Carlos Ramos’ motives for handing her a game penalty were sexist and not because it was her third warning in the space of 15 minutes and the fact she called him a ‘thief’, a ‘liar’ and declared he would never umpire a match of hers again.

In her press conference, Williams declared she was fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality, branding Ramos’ decision to penalise her obvious indiscretions as “a sexist remark”.

“I’ve seen other men call umpires several other things...for me to say thief and for him to take a game, it made me feel that like was a sexist remark,” the 23-time major champion said. “He’s never taken a game from a man because they said thief. For me, it blows my mind. But I’m going to continue to fight for women.
“I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is an example for the next person that has emotions that wants to express themselves, that wants to be a strong woman and they’re going to be allowed to do that because of today.
“Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it’s going to work out for the next person.”



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Naomi Osaka on post-match embrace with Serena Williams: 'I felt like a little kid again'

Naomi Osaka has won more hearts during an emotional press conference after securing her first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open, revealing ‘she felt like a little kid again’ when she hugged her idol Serena Williams following their controversial final on Saturday.

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