U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka is getting her first taste of fame after defeating Serena Williams in Saturday’s contentious final.
The 20-year-old who was known primarily in tennis circles before is now landing record endorsement deals and sitting down with Ellen DeGeneres.
Osaka talks about her experience of Serena’s meltdown
A starstruck Osaka chatted with DeGeneres on “Ellen” on Wednesday and talked about her experience of the championship match that’s made headlines more for Williams’ outburst than her impressive win over the 23-time Grand Slam winner.
She told DeGeneres about her mindset during Williams’ arguments with chair umpire Carlos Ramos and how she learned in training to turn around and focus on her game when an opponent has an emotional moment on the court.
“In my mind, I just really wanted to know what was going on,” Osaka said “I hear a lot of people in the crowd making noises, and I really wanted to turn around. But I didn’t.”
Osaka thought boos were for her
Osaka also said that she thought the crowd was booing her after the match before Williams assured her that wasn’t the case.
“She said that she was proud of me, and that I should know that the crowd wasn’t booing at me,” Osaka said. “At the time, I did kind of think they were booing at me. I couldn’t tell what was going on because it was just so loud.”
Tells reporters in Japan: ‘I don’t feel sad’
The Japan native’s whirlwind press tour continued in Yokohoma Thursday morning where she told reporters at a news conference that the negative energy around her first Grand Slam win didn’t detract from her joy.
“For me, I don’t feel sad because I wouldn’t even know what I’m expected to feel,” Osaka told reporters. “Because it was my first final and my first Grand Slam victory, overall I felt really happy and I know that I accomplished a lot.
“I don’t think I even thought about feeling sad because there’s no experience for me to draw on (from) any other Grand Slam final.”
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