Naomi Osaka has revealed what Serena Williams said to her after booing US Open fans brought her to tears.
In awful scenes after Osaka’s historic grand slam triumph, the 20-year-old burst into tears as fans voiced their displeasure at the way Serena had lost.
The 23-time grand slam champion could be seen leaning over to Osaka and whispering some words of encouragement in her young rival’s ear.
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And now Osaka has revealed exactly what Serena said.
“She said that she was proud of me and that I should know that the crowd wasn’t booing at me,” Osaka told Ellen DeGeneres on Wednesday.
“At the time, I did … think that they were booing at me.
“I couldn’t tell what was going on, because it was just so loud in there. It was a little bit stressful.”
The Japanese woman also opened up about what she was thinking when Serena was melting down.
“When you’re little, you’re taught not to look at, like, if your opponent gets angry or anything,” Osaka explained on the show.
“You’re told to just turn around and try to focus, so I tried to do that, but in my mind I was sort of…like, I really wanted to know what was going on.
“I couldn’t hear and I was looking away, but I heard a lot of people in the crowd making noises, and I really wanted to turn around, but I didn’t.”
‘I felt like I had to apologise’
Earlier this week Osaka opened up about the moment boos rained down on her trophy presentation after winning the US Open.
The first Japanese player to win a grand slam admitted she was “a little bit sad” her US Open triumph ended in boos after Serena was embroiled in a controversial row with the umpire.
“I felt a little bit sad because I wasn’t really sure if [the crowd] were booing at me or if it wasn’t the outcome that they wanted,” Osaka said of that moment on NBC’s Today.
“I also could sympathise because I’ve been a fan of Serena my whole life and I knew how badly the crowd wanted her to win.
“I don’t know, I was just really emotional up there.
“I felt like everyone was sort of unhappy up there and I know that it wasn’t really… the ending wasn’t what people wanted it to be.
“In my dreams, I won in a very competitive match, so I don’t know, I just felt very emotional and I felt like I had to apologise.”
Williams, who missed a chance to claim a record-equalling 24th grand slam singles title, refused to answer questions during the presentations but asked the crowd to stop booing and congratulate Osaka in her moment of glory.
“I felt really happy because she knew I was crying and she was saying some things and it just made me happy overall,” added Osaka.