Naomi Osaka Defends Her 2018 Match Against Serena Williams: ‘I Never Saw It That Way’

Naomi Osaka is one of the brightest stars in women’s tennis after winning yet another major, the 2021 Australian Open recently.

While Osaka is undoubtedly one of the best tennis players in the world, her first Grand Slam win exacted a toll.

During the 2018 U.S. Open, she competed against her idol, Serena Williams.

Though the young prodigy won, the media seeded the moment with controversy that Osaka still thinks about today.


Although Osaka was born in Japan, details the Washington Post, she spent much of her childhood in the United States.

Half-Japanese, half-black, Serena Williams showed that the lily-white sport of tennis was ready for some adversity.

From infancy on, Osaka took in every match her idol played and crafted game after her.

At just 23 years old, she’s already one of the best young sensations since Serena and her sister burst onto the scene as teenagers.

Osaka and Williams had a connection before that, but playing in the 2018 U.S. Open against Williams was a dream that the former athlete had since childhood.

As for Williams, she’s made a habit of embracing the sport’s young stars in situations where less humble personalities may not have done so.


However, after some controversial officiating in 2018, what should have been an incredible moment for Osaka turned into something ugly.

Going into the match against her idol, Osaka, just 20 years old at the time, psyched herself up by pretending that it was just another match, she told GQ while looking back at it.

“I always think of all my matches as a tennis match, no matter who I play,” Osaka said. Of course, it wasn’t just another match.

For the entirety of her tennis career, Williams had been the one who inspired her to get where she was. When the match began, however, something was wrong.

ESPN notes that chair umpire Carlos Ramos gave Williams a code violation for allegedly receiving coaching from the stands.

Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka tennis

Williams insisted she did not, citing that her glance at the coach was standard for every player to do.

Williams’s outburst at Ramos became a bigger story than Osaka’s win.

However, while Osaka regrets some aspects of her first Grand Slam, she’s also not ready to diminish or demean it, something Williams also refused to do despite the added drama.


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