This year’s US Open juniors champion, Maria Camila Osorio Serrano from Colombia draws her inspiration to play tennis from the Zeus of the sport, Roger Federer. She began playing tennis all because of Roger Federer and gave the Swiss maestro a shoutout after her title win in New York this year. “It’s because of him that I’m playing tennis,” she said.
At the age of six, she was waiting for a football match to start, and in the meantime, Osorio Serrano witnessed Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal competing against each other. At that time, she did not know those two gentlemen.
“Roger was playing a final against (Rafa) Nadal,” she recollected. “I was watching that but I didn’t know who they were. I just liked it and I started playing with a ball, hitting it against a wall.” Eleven years after striking her first tennis ball, the Colombian went on to become the US Open girls’ champion.
Clay is Serrano’s preferred surface and Roland Garros is her favorite Slam. During French Open 2017, Federer’s absence at the Paris major disappointed her. “It was my first Grand Slam and I always wanted to play at Roland Garros, because I started playing on clay. I was waiting for him at Roland Garros. But he didn’t play so I was really sad,” she added.
However, she was on cloud nine after seeing the Swiss legend at Wimbledon 2017. She noticed Roger Federer after she returned from the locker room. That year, she lost in the third round of Wimbledon juniors.
“The first time I saw him was two years ago at Wimbledon. I was looking for him for three days in the whole club. I was walking around [the day I was] playing, and I couldn’t see him. I was like, ‘I give up. If I see him, I’ll ask for the picture.’ I finished my match, I won, I took a shower and everything, and then when I was going out, he was just right there taking pictures with all the fans.”
“I just started screaming and crying, and I just went back, like, ‘Oh my god, Roger Federer is right there!’ I was like, ‘Cami. Relax. Relax,’ and I went back and I asked for the picture. The first picture that I took, I was crying, so I’m like, ‘Now, I need to take another one.’”
The next year, last year, I saw him again in practice, but I said, ‘No, it’s fine. It’s normal again,’ because I’m going to see him again. Then I walked, and I saw him and I was shaking, like, ‘Can I take a picture? You. Picture. Me?’ He was so nice. He took the picture, and this one was better, much better,” Osorio Serrano reminisced during the US Open 2019.
At US Open, Osorio Serrano won, 6-1, 6-0 against an American qualifier Alexandra Yepifanova in the finals. This year she made her WTA breakthrough in her home country tournament, Claro Open Colsanitas. Over there, she lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual champion, Amanda Anisimova.