Naomi Osaka did not just win the third round of the US Open against Coco Gauff but also won the hearts of tennis fans around the world because of her heart-warming gesture following her victory.
On September 1, the defending champion consoled 15-year-old Gauff after beating her 6-3 6-0 in the third round of the tournament and convinced her to join her for the post match on-court interview.
Social media users poured posts of praise appreciating Osaka for her good spirit.
It was an emotional end to the game as the two met at the net while both teared up.
“I said no because I knew I was going to cry the whole time, but she encouraged me to do it,” Gauff said after Osaka talked her into it, according to a report by AFP.
“It was amazing, she did amazing and I am going to learn a lot from this match. She has been so sweet to me, so thank you for this,” she added.
Osaka, fighting back her own tears, turned towards Gauff’s parents during the interview and said, “You guys raised an amazing player. I remember I used to see you guys training. Both of us made it and we’re still working hard.”
‘Tennis is in good hands’
Social media users were all praise for Osaka and her sportsmanship and hundreds of tweets kept rolling in after the match.
Tweep @TaylorRooks thought that such gestures are a good sign for the future of tennis: “After a great win for Naomi Osaka, Naomi asked a very emotional Gauff to join her for the post name interview. Beautiful moment, outstanding sportsmanship. This is the future of tennis.”
Former American tennis player James Blake, @JRBlake, also tweeted about the match: “@Naomi_Osaka_ asking @CocoGauff to be a part of this interview is so thoughtful and nice. These are going to be two great champions for a long time. Amazing tennis from Naomi as well.”
Osaka later took her own Twitter account, Naomi_Osaka_, and tweeted at Gauff, calling her a ‘warrior’: “Keep your head up, you’ve got so much to be proud of. Warrior @CocoGauff”
Sports columnist Jane McManus, @janesports, compared the moment to when Osaka beat her childhood idol Serena Williams in the US Open 2018: “A year ago Naomi Osaka accepted the comfort of Serena Williams on Ashe, today she extended that same genuine warmth to Coco Gauff. Tennis is in good hands.”
Last year, Osaka defeated Williams however was overwhelmed by the crowd’s boos as fans seemed to be disappointed in the way the game was officiated. As a result, Osaka grew emotional and Williams comforted her.