Naomi Osaka Reveals Her Learnings After Defeating Serena Williams in US Open Finals

Published 02/11/2021, 6:30 AM EST
Naomi Osaka of Japan hugs Serena Williams of the United States after winning the Women’s Singles finals match on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


World No.3 Naomi Osaka had her breakthrough year in 2018 when she defeated Serena Williams in the final of the US Open. Since then she has won two more Grand Slam titles, but that first final taught her a lot.

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Osaka revealed that the thought of playing Serena in a Grand Slam final overwhelmed her. In her eyes, she had already accomplished something, and a Grand Slam victory was out of her mind during the final.

In a chat with GQ, she said, “Well, I always think of all my matches as a tennis match, no matter who I play. And it’s weird, but as a kid, I always dreamed of playing Serena in the finals. So for me it felt like just a huge accomplishment to even be there in the first place.”

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Naomi Osaka of Japan cries after winning the Women’s Singles finals match alongside runner up Serena Williams. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka’s feeling during the US Open final against Serena Williams

It was a dream come true for Osaka. She shared the stage with Serena Williams and held the US Open trophy. Osaka said: “I was just going into it thinking it was a tennis match. And then I feel like everything after was something that I could have never prepared for. And I just felt super overwhelmed. Even during the trophy ceremony, I was overwhelmed.”

The US Open 2018 final had a lot of drama. It had Serena’s infamous outburst at the chair umpire. Amongst all this, Osaka was also getting a lot of attention as she beat Serena. So, Osaka spoke about staying in the spotlight and dealing with so much attention at a young age.

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Naomi Osaka of Japan in action. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

“I feel like anybody that watches tennis would have appreciated the match. And I also feel like it sort of shows how big of a figure that Serena is. Everyone in tennis says it, but anyone that beats her sort of gets thrown into the spotlight. I would just say that it gave me a lot of experiences in one single day that maybe would have taken a lot of other people a couple of years to experience.”

US Open 2018 not only gave a new champion, but it also gave a first Japanese Grand Slam champion. And it can be regarded as a transfer of the reigns from one great champion to the other in the form of Serena and Osaka.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1087 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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