Naomi Osaka has made history on Saturday, becoming the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam final after defeating tennis legend Serena Williams at the U.S. Open.
Osaka’s historic moment, however, was marred by an unfortunate outcome that left the young champion in tears while the crowd booed, and the commentators and US Open officials expressed shock over Serena Williams’ loss.
Osaka, who doused Williams’ shot at a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title, received boos from the crowd at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York after Williams docked a game due to a “controversial” violation she received from the umpire during the second set, CNN reports.
The 20-year-old Japanese Haitian athlete started the first set on fire with a commanding score of 6-2, then continued her brilliant performance in the second set with 6-4.
During the second game of the second set, chair umpire Carlos Ramo Serena gave Williams a warning because her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was allegedly making hand signals, a form of code violation in tennis.
While Mouratoglou later admitted in a TV interview that he was indeed coaching, it was unclear whether Williams actually saw him.
Williams demanded an apology from Ramos, saying her coach was simply giving her a thumbs up.
“You owe me an apology. I have never cheated in my life! I have a daughter and I stand for what’s right for her,” Williams shot at Ramos during the match. “I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose.”
Williams continued to lose her cool resulting in the smashing of her racket on the court. Her action resulted in another violation which incurred a point penalty.
The penalty further upset the 36-year-old star who ended up accusing Ramos of being a “thief.” Williams was then leveled with a full game penalty for berating an official.
The match resumed after officials went to the court to try to calm Williams down. Williams would eventually surrender that second set, handing the victory to Osaka.
Instead of having a festive vibe, the awarding ceremony looked awkward as the tennis stars both appeared solemn and upset while the crowd booed in protest.
Williams tried to downplay the controversy by consoling Osaka who was weeping apparently from the crowd’s reaction.
“Let’s give everyone the credit where credit’s due and let’s not boo anymore,” Williams told the crowd. “We’re going to get through this and let’s be positive. So congratulations, Naomi. No more booing.”
Osaka, who also defeated Williams at the Miami Open in March earlier this year, is now two for two in her matches against her idol.
“I know that everyone was cheering for her and I’m sorry it had to end like this,” Osaka was quoted as saying after her win.
Featured image via YouTube/ESPN