Naomi Osaka blamed her ‘notorious’ awkwardness over Serena Williams’ meltdown for the emotional US Open trophy ceremony when she burst into tears with the crowd booing.
Osaka beat her childhood idol Serena 6-2, 6-4 in the controversial final of US Open after the veteran received a code violation for coaching. Serena called chair umpire Carlos Ramos a ‘thief’ in a meltdown that saw her smashing her racket.
Speaking in Tokyo on Monday, Osaka, who became Japan’s first Grand Slam singles champion, recalled her nervousness during the trophy ceremony, “I feel like there was just a lot of emotions. I couldn’t really pinpoint it at the time, I just felt very overwhelmed.”
“I’m grateful that people care or sympathise but I don’t really think there was anything to be sad about,” said Osaka. “I don’t feel like I would’ve liked to savour the moment more – I think I do things my own way and everyone is different in their own way so I don’t really have any regrets.”
Osaka, who has risen from 19th to seventh in the new world rankings, had said during the acceptance speech: “Hi, I’m Naomi … this is probably going to be the worst acceptance speech of all time.”
Speaking on her speech, she said: “I’m kind of notorious – I’m not that great at trophy ceremonies. Even in Indian Wells it was a little bit different I guess from everyone else. I’ve played a lot more matches between then and now,” she said. “I’m a little bit more mature now so of course having that experience helps – and being more confident in yourself too,” Osaka added.
“I’ve played here for many years and got to the final once, so this tournament is very special to me.”