“I felt like a little kid again"
“To have a huge reaction isn't really me in the first place. It just still didn't really feel that real. So for me it just felt like a normal match, just walking up to the net. But it's Serena that's on the other side. She hugged me, and it was really awesome.
“I know that she really wanted to have the 24th Grand Slam, right? Everyone knows this. It's on the commercials, it's everywhere. Like, when I step onto the court, I feel like a different person. I'm not a Serena fan. I'm just a tennis player playing another tennis player. But then when I hugged her at the net...”
Osaka took a beat to hold back the tears once more. “Anyway, when I hugged her at the net, I felt like a little kid again.”
Life is set to change for Osaka
Japanese and Haitian flags fluttered in pockets throughout Arthur Ashe Stadium as she made her way across the court to celebrate with Bajin and her team before sharing a long, tearful embrace with her mother. “She sacrificed a lot for me, and it means a lot for her to come and watch my matches because she doesn’t normally do that,” Osaka said, drawing a laugh from the crowd. “One person I didn’t see was my dad, because he doesn’t physically watch my matches – he walks around, so I’ll see him later.
“It was always my dream to play Serena in the US Open final, so I’m really glad that I was able to do that – I was really grateful that I was able to play with you, thank you,” Osaka told Williams, signing off with a bow.
Life is set to change for Osaka, and not just because of the $3.8m cheque heading to her bank account. Asked if she was ready for the reaction to her historic victory when she arrives in Tokyo for her next tournament, she joked: “Apparently not, because people keep asking me that.”