Naomi Osaka Reveals What Serena Williams Told Her After Winning US Open

September 13, 2018 Updated: September 13, 2018

U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka has revealed for the first time what Serena Williams told her after the controversy-plagued final.

Osaka and Williams were together after the match as Osaka was awarded the trophy for winning.

Osaka, 20, of Japan, said that Williams, 36, told her she was proud of her. Amid the crowd booing, Williams tried to reassure the new champion that the boos were not aimed at her.

“She said that she was proud of me and that I should know that the crowd wasn’t booing at me. So, I was really happy that she said that,” Osaka told Ellen DeGeneres.”At the time I did think they were booing at me.”

Osaka also said that she felt confident going into the match that she would win. Osaka previously said that she was happy to win her first Grand Slam.

Serena Williams reacts after losing to Naomi Osaka
Serena Williams of the United States (2nd R), while being interviewed after her defeat in the Women’s Singles finals match to Naomi Osaka (2nd L),  of Japan at the 2018 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City on Sept. 8, 2018. (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Williams Erupts

The controversial series of events started when umpire Carlos Ramos gave Williams a code violation warning after he spotted her coach, who was in the stands, giving her hand signals.

Williams became irate and smashed her racket, leading to an actual code violation. That made Williams even more upset, and she berated Ramos repeatedly. Ramos issued another code violation, costing Williams the game. Williams was already down, and ultimately lost the final.

Osaka said during the interview that she initially didn’t know what was going on because she turned away from the scene as Williams approached Ramos and started yelling.

“When you’re little you’re taught not to look at if your opponent gets angry, you’re told to just turn around and try to focus, so I tried to do that,” Osaka said. “But in my mind, I really wanted to know what was going on.”

Serena Williams yells at umpire
Serena Williams of the United States yells at chair umpire Carlos Ramos at the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Sept. 8, 2018. (Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Ramos Responds

The rulings by Ramos and outcome of the match stirred controversy, with some backing Williams, believing she’d been unfairly ruled against, and others believing her behavior justified the violations.

Ramos spoke out for the first time about the fracas, telling the Portuguese newspaper Tribuna Expresso that he was fine.

“I’m fine, given the circumstances,” Ramos told the Expresso, according to the Associated Press. “It’s a delicate situation, but umpiring ‘a la carte’ doesn’t exist. Don’t worry about me.”

Ramos said he has received hundreds of messages of support. The umpire stayed at his house for several days after the final to avoid problems. Ramos is scheduled to umpire matches in the Davis Cup, which starts in Croatia on Sept. 14.


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