The defending champion at the U. S Open, 21-year-old Naomi Osaka showed recently that she has a heart of pure gold.
In her third-round match at the Flushing Meadows, Osaka defeated 15-year-old Coco Gauff of the United States 6-3, 6-0 in a match that lasted just over an hour. Post the match, however, the teenager couldn’t control her tears and broke down at the loss. Osaka, being the compassionate champion that she is, rushed to her opponent to console her. She also gave a warm embrace to soothe her very talented rival.
But she didn’t stop there. Osaka invited Gauff to take part in the courtside interview with her, something that is reserved only for winners of matches.
During the courtside interview, Osaka addressed the parents of Gauff and said that they should be very proud to have raised a player like Coco.
“She was crying, she won. I was crying. Everybody was crying!” said Gauff, who became an overnight sensation when she reached the fourth round of the recently-concluded Wimbledon by beating players such as Venus Williams in the process. “I didn’t know why she was crying. I was like, ‘you won the match!'”
At a news conference held after the match, Osaka said, “It was kind of instinctive because when I shook her hand, I saw that she was kind of tearing up a little. Then it reminded me how young she was.”
And this very kind gesture of Osaka was appreciated tremendously all over the tennis community and the world. Roger Federer, one of the greatest tennis players ever, hailed the camaraderie that the two young players shared.
Federer said, “To see that camaraderie at the highest level of sport is nice. They are still so young and that rivalry will be nice for years to come. It is nice tennis is that way still and I hope it will be that way for many years, where players are respectful to each other.”
Billie Jean King, one of the greatest women players of all time, also tweeted saying that this was “the dawning of a new era in women’s tennis.”
Congratulations to @Naomi_Osaka_, who showed greatness on and off the court. @CocoGauff now knows what she needs to do to get to No. 1. How fortunate we all are to have witnessed the dawning of a new era in women’s tennis. #USOpen
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 1, 2019
However, this is not the first time that Osaka has sown her compassionate side. Last year, Osaka showed much humility and strength in defeating Serena Williams in the final of the U.S Open, which saw Williams lose her temper on more than one occasion, where she called the umpire a “thief” and smashed her racket on the ground.
She is certainly a class-act, this champion!
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