In her childhood, Naomi Osaka always dreamt of being a professional tennis player like her hero, Serena Williams. Last Saturday, Osaka got to face her idol on the court in the championship match of the U.S. Open. In two straight sets, Osaka was victorious. Unfortunately, her greatest achievement was marred by controversy.
The famously fiery Williams clashed with umpire Carlos Ramos and received a penalty after multiple offenses against him and tournament referee Brian Earley, including a racket smash and denouncing Ramos as “a thief.” Williams’ fans and defenders feel that their champion faces discrimination in both the sport and the media because of her race and gender.
Boos overtook the audience and continued when Osaka was crowned as the winner.
Osaka eventually burst into tears and apologized to the crowd, the win she had always wanted and pictured clouded with bitterness.
In her words:
I felt like everyone was sort of unhappy up there and I know that it wasn’t really … the ending wasn’t what people wanted it to be. In my dreams, I won in a very competitive match so I don’t know, I just felt very emotional and I felt like I had to apologize.
Immediately after the game, Serena urged the public and press to stop jeering and applaud and admire the game Osaka had played, which had earned the younger player her first grand slam title. Osaka says that the graceful moment offered her some solace.
— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) September 8, 2018
Osaka adds, “I felt really happy because she knew I was crying and she was saying some things and it just made me happy over all.”
Osaka, who holds dual citizenship in both Japan and the United States but represents Japan, is the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title and her accomplishment was widely celebrated by both people in Japan and Asian-Americans.
Via The Guardian