World number one and defending US Open champion Naomi Osaka, 21, has proven that winning with grace is very much still possible and that the future of women’s tennis is bright.
Osaka claimed a 6-3, 6-0 win over 15-year-old Coco Gauff but it was what happened after the match that has us feeling a little emotional.
After winning the match, Osaka approached Gauff, inviting her to do the post-game interview with her. The teenage player initially turned her down as she was scared she would “cry the whole way through”, but Osaka responded, “No, you’re amazing. It’s better to do it here than going into the shower and crying.”
The moment was met with huge applause from the packed Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City.
During the interview, Gauff told the interviewer, “She (Osaka) told me that I did amazing and good luck and then she asked if I could do the on-court interview with her and I said no because I knew I was going to cry the whole time, but she encouraged me to do it.”
“She did amazing and I’m going to learn a lot from this match and she’s been so sweet to me so thank you for this.”
When Osaka began her interview she once again showed her class and turned to Gauff’s parents, saying, “You guys raised an amazing player, I remember I used to see you guys — I don’t want to cry — training in the same place as us. For me the fact that both of us made it and we’re both still working as hard as we can I think it’s incredible and I think you guys are amazing and I think Coco you’re amazing.”
In the post-match press conference, Gauff called Osaka “a true athlete”.
“After the match Naomi proved she is a true athlete.”
“For me a definition of an athlete is someone who treats you as their worst enemy on the court but after they treat you like you’re their best friend. That’s what she did.”
People took to Twitter to congratulate the players for displaying such class and kindness towards each other.
No doubt we’ll see plenty more amazing performances by these two ladies in the years to come.