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“I’ve never been on a talk show before, so I’m very happy to be here,” she said, alluding to her newly famous status. “It still feels a little bit surreal, but I think it’s slowly sinking in.”
Osaka addressed Williams’ outburst when she yelled at a tournament referee. It was announced the day after the match that Williams had been fined $17,000 for code violations. The first $10,000 is for verbal abuse against chair umpire Carlos Ramos, while $4,000 is for being warned for coaching and a $3,000 charge for breaking her racket.
“I didn’t really know what was going on ’cause I went to the back and I had my back turned,” she said. “And then before I knew it, she was saying there was a game penalty, so I was a little bit confused throughout the whole thing.”
Osaka shared her reaction to the crowd’s booing, which she originally thought was targeted at her. “I felt a little bit sad because I wasn’t really sure if they were booing at me or if it wasn’t the outcome that they wanted. I also could sympathize 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,” she said.
She added that Williams congratulated her after the match. “I felt really happy because I sort of felt like she knew that I was crying and then she was saying some things and it just made me happy overall,” she said.
Osaka also explained why she apologized after her victory. “I felt like everyone was sort of unhappy about up there, and … the ending wasn’t what people wanted it to be,” she said. “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 apologize.”
Now that she knows a little bit more about what happened leading up to Williams’ outburst, Osaka admitted she isn’t sure how to feel. “I’m not really that 100 percent sure because I kind of haven’t really had time to look too much at the news,” she said. “I’ve been going all over the place, so I can’t really form an opinion right now.”
“I want to watch everything and I want to know what happened because this is sort of one of the biggest things that happened to me,” she concluded.
Co-anchor Hoda Kotb mentioned earlier in the interview that Osaka was assigned to write a paper about her idol in the third grade and she wrote about Williams. “I’ve played her once before in Miami ,and it just didn’t feel that real because it was a grand slam this time and just watching her play in grand slam finals before when I was a kid, it felt really different and so I think coming into this match, I was just really nervous,” she said about playing against her idol.
“Right before I was walking onto the court, I was freaking out a little,” she admitted. “But when I went onto the court it didn’t feel like she was Serena. It felt like she was just another player.”
Watch the full interview below.
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