5 Years After Serena Williams’ Most Controversial Moment, Naomi Osaka’s Biographer Makes a Surreal Claim About Its Impact on Tennis History

Published 12/19/2023, 9:27 PM EST

Follow Us

Tennis can get intense at times. A perfect example of this would be the 2018 US Open when tennis legend Serena Williams faced Naomi Osaka. In a recent turn of events, renowned journalist Ben Rothenberg shed a different light on the whole debacle that took place in 2018. Rothenberg detailed the whole US Open event as a cultural moment.

America’s Favorite Video Today

Appropriation in tennis and disputes over it are not foreign concepts in tennis. This makes even more sense when the context of what happened during that match is displayed wide open. However, what Rothenberg said about Osaka and the title match is worth talking about.

Ben Rothenberg’s take on Naomi Osaka

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Tennis finals are usually about the clash of rackets and serve. However, the 2018 US Open final between Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka became something more. In the eyes of renowned journalist Ben Rothenberg, this wasn’t just a match. It was a seismic shift in the tennis landscape. As the 20th seed, Naomi Osaka stepped onto the court; she didn’t just pay.

The victory in straight sets against her idol, Serena Williams, should have been the headline. Yet it was overshadowed by a different narrative. A clash erupted during the US Open, not only between two players but between Williams and chair umpire Carlos Ramos as well. Code violations for coaching from the sidelines and racquet abuse were the major factors. This resulted in the deduction of a game, and Williams’s fiery words marked a match that would be etched into tennis lore.

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest Tennis stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

Ben Rothenberg dissected the tumultuous event and described it as a cultural watershed. In his words, “It was a huge, huge cultural moment and broke across some really interesting cultural lines.” The controversy surrounded Naomi Osaka and provided an unexpected propulsion to her career. Winning a Grand Slam title is impressive, but winning it amid the most talked-about, controversial tennis match of all time elevated Osaka into a higher orbit of attention and celebrity.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Even if Naomi had nothing to do with any of the actual controversy, Ben Rothenberg emphasized, it really did launch her into a much higher, faster orbit of attention and celebrity than she would have just from winning a grand slam title. The 2018 US Open wasn’t just a tennis match; it was a catapult that launched Osaka into the spotlight, where she remains a shining star today.

Osaka’s comeback at the Australian Open

As the tennis world eagerly awaits, whispers of anticipation surround Osaka’s imminent return to the court. Fans, still captivated by the echoes of the 2018 US Open, are brimming with excitement as she gears up for a comeback, set to unfold at the Australian Open. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

WATCH THIS STORY: 18-Year-Old Coco Gauff Dreams To Replicate Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka’s Fashion Feat in an Unexpected Fan Confession

The prospect of witnessing Osaka’s resilience after the tumultuous events of 2018 has created a buzz in the tennis circuit. From the controversial spotlight of the past to the bright expectations of her return, Osaka’s journey continues to capture the imaginations of fans.  The Australian Open is poised for the return of a star who emerged from the storm stronger than ever. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Charrvi Singh

399Articles

One take at a time

Ever since Naomi Osaka?s infamous withdrawal from the tennis circuit in the 2021 French Open, I have been enamored by tennis stars and their psyche. With a background in psychology, I am interested in delving into the minds of the sport's biggest stars while keeping my readers informed about the latest developments in the tennis world. At EssentiallySports, I focus on stories that dive beyond the sport and focus on the personal lives of the biggest tennis stars.
Show More>

Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today