Naomi Osaka reveals what Serena Williams said to her as fans booed during US Open final
I don't know if you heard, but things didn't go so smoothly at the US Open Tennis finals.
On Sunday, Naomi Osaka's win at the US Open was overshadowed by Serena Williams naming umpire Carlos Ramos a "liar and a thief". The incident set into motion a series of events that Naomi most likely never imagined would set the scene for her first Grand Slam win.
As the Japanese player attended the trophy ceremony, instead of cheers and congratulations, she was met by boos from the crowd, many of whom were supporting the 23-time Grand Slam winner's outburst. But the question was, what did Serena say to Naomi as they stood, waiting to collect their trophies?
Speaking to Ellen Degeneres, the 20-year-old player - who appeared overwhelmed by emotion after the march - revealed that her rival made an effort to comfort her in the aftermath of a dramatic match.
“She (Serena) said, like, she was proud of me and that I should know that the crowd wasn’t booing at me. So I was really happy that she said that,” Osaka told the talk show host, admitting that, in the moment, she believed that the audience were booing her.
"At the time I did think they were booing at me," she said. "I couldn't tell what was going on, it was so loud and a little bit stressful."
While you might assume that the young player would feel a little disappointed with the circumstances in which her first big win came, she denied feeling sad, saying: "For me, I don't feel sad because I wouldn't even know what I'm expected to feel. I don't think I even thought about feeling sad because there's no experience for me to draw on [from] any other Grand Slam final."
In addition, Naomi - who was born in Japan and raised in the United States - admitted that she was somewhat clueless as to what was going on during Serena's controversial outburst, telling Ellen that she stuck to what she had been taught.
"When you are little, you are taught not to look when the opponent gets angry, you are told to turn around and try and focus," she said. "In my mind, I really wanted to know what was going on. I heard a lot of people in the crowd making noises and I really wanted to turn around."
Despite the initial more serious tone of the conversation, the comedian pulled eventually pulled the subject of their chat around to something a little more fun.
Keen to find out more about the athlete, Ellen questioned Naomi about her celebrity crush, only to find out that it was none other than Michael B. Jordan. In typical Ellen-style, the 60-year-old jumped to match-making and immediately text Michael to let him know, much to Naomi's embarrassment.
Unsurprisingly, it worked, with the Black Panther actor replying to the message on Twitter in a video message in which he praised the tennis star for setting "an amazing example" for young people and encouraged her to "continue to work hard."
"It's a big moment for you and the way you carry yourself with such humility and grace, it's really amazing to see..." he said. "Just know that all the hard work, the blood, sweat, and tears that you put into this sport, that you put into your journey, people are finally being able to see — and that's a big thing to be proud of."
His message ended with a little sly flirting when he said: "Keep being great, everybody's watching now — me too."
Hey, winning the US Open didn't work out so badly for Naomi after all now, did it?