Naomi Osaka may have won her first grand slam title at the US Open on Saturday, but rather than being remembered for the 20-year old’s awesome display against one of women’s tennis best ever players, it is unfortunate that Serena Williams’ epic meltdown that will dominate the post-match discussions.
After out-hitting the formidable former champion to claim the first set, Osaka was holding her own in the second when Williams lost her cool over a series of umpiring calls by Carlos Ramos.
The 23-time grand slam champion was then handed the rare punishment of being docked a game, a move that led to a heated on-court discussion with tournament officials.
All the time, Osaka sat nearby trying to put the ongoing controversy out of her mind and focus on her game.
Lesser players would have crumbled as Serena remonstrated with the officials, but Osaka did not. She returned to court amid the tense atmosphere to see out the win and earn her place in history as Japan’s first ever grand slam winner.
And despite the subdued feeling around Arthur Ashe, it was a well-deserved win for the Japanese star and one that saw huge amounts of online reaction.
Naomi Osaka doesn’t deserve this. Serena Williams doesn’t deseve this. So unfortunate. What a mess.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) September 8, 2018
First came the congratulations for Osaka.
Naomi Osaka deserves her moment #usopen
— Anne Keothavong (@annekeothavong) September 8, 2018
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 8, 2018
@Naomi_Osaka_ smile baby … congratulations you have all my respect😘
— Flavia Pennetta (@flavia_pennetta) September 8, 2018
Then came the support for Serena.
Serena Williams embracing and putting her arms around Naomi Osaka to turn the crowd’s boos into cheers is the true definition of class and sportsmanship.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) September 8, 2018
In 10 years I won’t remember who won the 2018 US Open…
But I will remember the day Serena Williams stood up for herself and rightfully so on a bad call even with the consequences…
She was robbed today. But she made sure to defend her character.
— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) September 9, 2018
A fair few people also thought Serena was to blame.
Serena playing the victim & saying its because she’s a woman?
She acted appallingly and way too many people are agreeing with her.
The umpire called it right.
She ruined the occasion for Naomi Osaka who hero worships her.
She should apologise. #UsOpenFinal#USOpen
— Dylan Strain (@DylanStrain) September 8, 2018
Amidst the fallout of Serena’s disgraceful antics at the #USOpen18 perhaps the most disturbing is the booing by fans during the presentation. They completely dishonoured Osaka, who wanted to hide during what should have been her shining moment. They’re as deluded as Serena is.
— Matt Parslow (@MattParslow1) September 9, 2018
While there were others who blamed the umpire.
My point about umpire Carlos Ramos in the Williams/Osaka match: he made it about himself instead of allowing the match to be decided by the players. That should not happen, especially in a grand slam final.
— Tony Schwartz (@tonyschwartz) September 8, 2018
Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou later admitted he had been coaching her.
Mouratoglou admitted to ESPN that he coached.
Thus, the warning was correct by Ramos.
Then, racket abuse warning was indisputable.
Williams felt entitled to having coaching warning retracted, which never happens. So she ranted abusively, and got a third warning.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) September 8, 2018
Something that Serena was obviously not happy about.
At press, Serena Williams seemed peeved that Mouratoglou undermined her contention that there was no coaching. Said she just learned about it before presser. I got the sense that he’d have some ‘splaining to do.
— Jane McManus (@janesports) September 8, 2018
Either way, one thing we can all agree on is that Naomi Osaka deserved the win, controversy or not, for her superb play in what was the biggest match of her life!
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 8, 2018
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