Naomi Oaska reveals her US Open trophy devastation.
Naomi Oaska says she wants to put her career-shaping victory out of mind and move on after the hysterical meltdown by opponent Serena Williams.
“There’s a lot of stuff I want to say about how I felt,” the No. 7 Japanese said after reaching the second round of the China Open.
“The memory of the US Open is a little bittersweet.”
“The day after I didn’t really want to think about it – it was not necessarily the happiest memory for me,” she said almost a month after Williams went into boil-over mode in a running feud with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, eventually being docked a game due to her continuing temper outbursts.
The trophy ceremony was hardly a celebration for Osaka, who hid her face and her tears under her visor as a pro-Williams crowd jeered during the abbreviated presentation.
“I just wanted to move on at that point,” she said.
Osaka played her next event in Tokyo, reaching the final: “Of course I’m happy I won a Grand Slam, I don’t feel like it’s a bad memory, but it is kind of strange.
“I didn’t want to think about it, I wanted to push it to one side. Tokyo was a way to take my mind off of it, that’s why I did well there.
“I’m still trying to take my mind off of it a little bit. I think life is more than one tournament.”
Osaka, of Haitian-Japanese descent, now has millions of eyes on her and sponsors are starting stake claims.
A record $8.5 million contract with Adidas is on the offing, the highest figure given to a female athlete by the brand.
She has also signed a new three-year deal with Japanese carmaker Nissan.
Many are predicting she will become ‘the’ face of Japanese sport.
“That sounds surprising, pretty crazy,” she said, when told.
“But it would make my parents happy,” she added.
Meanwhile, Williams, fined a token amount for her final outbursts, has ended her season early and will not play again in 2018.