Unfortunately, in a sports world seemingly dominated by me first athletes, true acts of grace and sportsmanship are rare. But Naomi Osaka made sure that wasn’t the case in the 2019 U.S. Open.
Fifteen-year-old Coco Gauff was making a masterful run in the Grand Slam event until she got stopped in her tracks by Naomi Osaka in the third round. But after disposing of Gauff in straight sets, Osaka, the defending champion, saw an opponent on the verge of tears and sought her out. She wanted the teenager to share the post-match interview with her, which she initially declined. Gauff was hesitant at first as reported by ASAP Sports,
“I didn’t want to take that moment away from her, as well. She told me it’s better than crying in the shower. I really thank Naomi because it was a good moment for me.”
Osaka, who emerged seemingly from nowhere a year before, to defeat Serena Williams in the same tournament, showed empathy for the young start as reported by ASTV,
“It was kind of instinctive. I wanted Coco to have her head high going off the court – not sad.”
It was a great moment for tennis and a wonderful show of respect, class, and sportsmanship by one great player to one that is likely to be in the spotlight for years to come and have the opportunity to do the same someday.
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