What Serena Williams told Naomi Osaka at peak of US Open madness


Fresh from pocketing a $3.8 million check from winning the US Open on Saturday, Osaka is now set to pen a clothing deal with the German sports manufacturing giant that could see her take on Williams, the woman she defeated to win the title, for her Forbes number one highest-paid female athlete ranking.

Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Haitian-American father and raised mainly in the United States, Osaka has won hearts on and off the tennis court as much for her ferocious serve as her down-to-earth humility.

But after returning to Japan on Thursday, Osaka insisted there were no hard feelings towards Williams, who branded umpire Carlos Ramos a "thief" in an astonishing tantrum triggered by a code violation for coaching that culminated in a docked game. The Times reports a $8.5 million deal is being lined up for the 20-year-old, enjoying newfound global recognition after her maiden Grand Slam win.

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. "I just never knew when". "So I tried to do that, but in my mind I really wanted to know what was going on". To get called in a Grand Slam final was perhaps a bit tight, but I think the reaction was pretty overboard. "For now I'm just sort of riding the wave".

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But for now Osaka is itching to do normal stuff - like catch up with big sister Mari, who is also a professional tennis player, go shopping and eat her favourite matcha ice cream.

The furore only died down during the presentation ceremony after Williams pleaded with the crowd to stop booing, and Osaka revealed to DeGeneres what the former World No.1 said to her after leaning over to embrace her.

Asked how she felt about being a role model for young children, Osaka gave mixed signals. "But don't look up to me, because I don't want that responsibility!"