Naomi Osaka’s trophy presentation at the 2018 U.S. Open was strange, to say the least.
As Osaka received her trophy after beating Serena Williams in straight sets in the women’s singles final, the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium actually started booing.
The jeers mostly were a response to the controversy that overshadowed the match: The chair umpire assessed Williams a full game penalty after she berated him for accusing her of cheating by taking illegal coaching.
Osaka was seen crying during the ceremony, and Williams appeared to lean over and say something in her ear, presumably to console her.
During an appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” Osaka revealed what Williams told her on stage that night.
“She said that she was proud of me and that I should know that the crowd wasn’t booing at me,” Osaka said. “So, I was really happy that she said that.”
That’s a kind gesture from Williams, considering Osaka later admitted she thought the crowd was booing her because it wanted Williams to win instead. Osaka also named Williams as one of her idols and understandably was very happy to have the 23-time Grand Slam champion’s blessing despite the controversial outcome.
Check out Osaka’s full interview with DeGeneres below.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images
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