She may have been knocked out of the US Open but Naomi Osaka has won plenty of hearts with her off-field gestures towards fans and opponents. Days after she was seen hugging a young admirer in the stands, the reigning women’s champion won over the Internet again by comforting opponent Coco Gauff after defeating her in their first-ever face-off during the third round of the ongoing tournament on Saturday.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 1, 2019
Gauff, the 15-year-old tennis sensation from the US, was seen crying after losing her match against Osaka 6-3, 6-0.
In a now-viral clip, Osaka is heard telling Gauff that she ought not to worry about breaking down in public.
“You’re good – it’s better to do it on the court than alone in the shower in the locker room,” the 21-year-old Korean tennis star is heard telling her opponent.
Both players ended up in tears during their post-match interviews.
“You guys raised an amazing player. I remember I used to see you guys train in the same place as us, and for me the fact that both of us made it, and we’re both still working as hard as we can, I think it’s incredible,” a choked-up Osaka said as she turned towards Gauff’s parents in the stands.
“I think you guys are amazing, and I think, Coco, you are amazing,” she said, trying to hold back tears.
Gauff, whose dream run at the tournament came to an end with Saturday’s defeat, termed Osaka’s behaviour as the “definition of an athlete.”
“For me, the definition of an athlete is someone who on the court treats you like your worst enemy but off the court can be your best friend. I think that’s what she did tonight,” she said in her post-match.
The heartwarming moment between the duo touched many hearts online, with many netizens including Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praising the sportsperson spirit on display.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 1, 2019
Yo this moment between Naomi and Coco has me mad emo. I’ve seen firsthand how hurtful it is to be the youngin in the field and to admire another Black woman and to NOT be championed b/c we somehow believe there can only be ONE. More of this! #usopen
— Eunique Jones Gibson (@eunique) September 1, 2019
— Lukas Weese (@Weesesports) September 1, 2019
On Friday, Rafael Nadal had touched hearts online by rescuing a young boy from a jostling crowd in the stands vying for the tennis superstar’s autographs.
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 30, 2019
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