On Saturday in Flushing Meadows, New York, Naomi Osaka became the first Japanese person to win a Grand Slam title. The 20-year-old won the U.S. Open finals over No. 17 ranked Serena Williams. She won the match 6-2, 6-4, but there was a lot of controversy over the officiating.
Osaka’s consistency, composure, and focus in the first set contributed to her impeccable performance. During the second set, Umpire Carlos Ramos accused her of getting on-court coaching signals from her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou. Mouratoglou later admitted in an interview with ESPN’s Pam Shriver that he was coaching, but so was Osaka’s coach, as does every other coach in the game. Ramos gave Serena her second warning for slamming her racket on the ground.
Williams approached the chair and told him “I don’t cheat to win, I’d rather lose.” She demanded that Ramos apologize to her. Instead, he gave Williams her third violation for berating an official. Williams was looking to tie Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles. Since giving birth, the closest Williams has come to winning another title was at this tournament and at Wimbledon. At Wimbledon, she lost in the final round to Angelique Kerber.
Williams and Osaka both cried during the awards ceremony following the match. The Japanese tennis star has idolized Williams throughout her life. Osaka reportedly did a school project on Williams in third grade and has many times said she aspires to be like Williams. Before this match, Osaka said to reporters “I love her.”
The crowds booed as they thought that Ramos stripped Williams of a chance to win the set. She gracefully asked the crowd to stop. During the press conference, Williams said “I thought he took the game from me… I’ve seen other men call other empires several things… I’m here fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality” and called Ramos’s decision sexist.
From boos to cheers. An emotional and powerful moment for Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams at the US Open podium. (🔊⬆️) pic.twitter.com/oTg6SORjXe
— ESPN (@espn) September 8, 2018
Williams’ next chance to earn a Grand Slam since giving birth and her resulting health complications will be in mid-January at the Australian Open.