Naomi Osaka, a Japanese-Haitian tennis champion grew up idolizing Serena Williams as her role model in tennis, and now, she is on her journey to become just as famous.
Surprisingly, 21-year old Osaka defeated Serena Williams during the US Open in September 2018, and many people’s introduction to her came at that time. They really didn’t know who she was, but not until after she gained victory over her idol.
She earned the titles of ‘first Japanese woman’ and ‘first Haitian’ to win a Grand Slam, and now, it looks like TIME Magazine did justice to her reputation by gracing her on their cover. During her interview with TIME, Osaka speaks about fame, her game with Serena Williams and her rise to stardom.
Her victory over Serena Williams captivated fans all over the world due to the achievement of ‘defeating someone you look up to’ or ‘beating someone at their own game’. However, instead of receiving celebratory gestures, Osaka received boo’s from the crowd after she had just defeated Serena Williams.
This made Osaka remorseful and unhappy. She admitted to crying while covering her face with her visor. “I didn’t want people to see me crying” she told TIME, “because that’s pathetic”.
When asked about facing her idol, Serena Williams, she replied:
“Serena is Serena. I didn’t experience her life. I can’t tell her what she’s supposed to do, because there are things that she’s gone through. I have nothing against her or anything. I actually still really love her.”
She also appreciates Serena for not further encouraging the crowd to continue jeering at her, as this is one great trait of a good sportsperson, accepting defeat.
Osaka also mentioned that she doesn’t like attention; however, she is gradually moving to the spotlight, and she is “about to get a ton of it”, according to TIME.
The Tennis star might still face Serena Williams in the Australian Open Semis, according to some sources.