Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams may be rivals in the world of tennis but Naomi is showing immense respect for Serena who she regards as a mentor.
The 22-year-old Japanese professional tennis player, who beat Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 at the US Open to win a Grand Slam title in 2018, took to Twitter to share a photo with her idol Serena Williams.
She captioned the photo “Me and My Mom”
Twitter users had mixed reactions to the photo. Some praised Naomi for honouring Serena. But some slammed her stating Serena wasn’t her mom but a champion.
Recall that when Naomi beat Serena in 2018 to win the Grand Slam title, the crowd booed Naomi and Serena ended up switching from competitor mode to that of a mother, consoling the Japanese player as she wept.
It was an ugly win, and during her postmatch interview, Williams took to the mic to calm a loud, angry, booing crowd.
“I don’t want to do questions,” Williams said. “I just want to tell you guys she played well. This is her first Grand Slam. … Let’s not boo anymore.”
Osaka and her sister, Mari, said they were inspired to start playing tennis after seeing the Williams sisters on television.
Serena Williams herself has started the year with a bang — the champ won her first title in three years at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday. Instead of keeping the prize money, she donated the $43,000 to help those affected by the blazing fires in neighboring Australia.
Serena beat fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-3, 6-4 during the singles final. Williams was noticeably thrilled when she realized she was victorious — throwing her hands in the air and screaming at the sky.
Oh, it feels good!” Williams said after the win. “It’s been a long time. I think you could see the relief on my face.”
The title also marks the 38-year-old’s first since giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia in September 2017. She won the Australian Open in January of that year, while pregnant with Alexis. After the win Sunday, Alexis joined her beaming mom on the tennis court in a sweet moment.
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