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Italian Open: Naomi Osaka Can’t Get Over Serena Williams’ Retirement in an Emotional Confession on Cloning Her Idol’s Clay-Court Skill


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Japanese WTA Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka can never come out of the “surreal” feeling she gets by recalling her icon Serena Williams‘s name. Proudly channeling herself as “a product of what she’s done”, Naomi Osaka reveals her admiration for the iconic former Olympic gold-medal tennis player as she “feels really sad” that “she’s not here”. Osaka, who has been bringing her fans flashbacks of Serena Williams’s aggressive playstyle, delves deeper into how her similarities with her idol made her confident about the clay surface.

Called lovingly “Clayomi” by her fans, Naomi Osaka pulled an amazing victory over her opponent Daria Kasatkina yesterday in Rome. Post victory, she sat down for a press conference and spoke about her playstyle similarities with her idol, Serena Williams. Osaka expressed oozing confidence for the clay court, motivated by both Serena and Maria Sharapova. “You know there’s like a hallway to the gym that has all the champions. I see Serena and Sharapova on there. It makes me very inspired knowing that hard-hitters can play well on clay. Of course, when I was younger, I watched both of them extensively” she said.

Now, Osaka has beautifully shown her massive groundstrokes and serving skills, which often remind fans of the iconic Serena Williams. Martina Navratilova also said that the similarity between the duo lies in their ability not to play extensive tennis and still find the rhythm. “I think Osaka’s a little bit like Serena, She’s got the big game and she doesn’t need that many matches as long as she stays healthy to play well and get that confidence. And the faster court, that will help her” said Navratilova.


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However, while responding to this, Osaka emotionally revealed how she feels about Serena Williams’s retirement. She said, “currently I didn’t rewind any Serena tapes ’cause I still feel really sad that she’s not here. Especially since Rafa is doing his last, like, hurrah, it makes me feel a bit more sad.”

This Japanese WTA star has always been vocal about her never-ending love for Serena Williams. During the legend’s retirement, Osaka shared a heartfelt tribute that said, “I think that her legacy is really wide to the point where you can’t even describe it in words. Like, she changed the sport so much. She’s introduced people that have never heard of tennis into the sport. I think I’m a product of what she’s done,” Not only that but Osaka further expressed a huge gratitude to the American former tennis legend. “I wouldn’t be here without Serena, Venus, her whole family. I’m, like, very thankful to her. I also was trying to figure out how to sum it into words. I honestly think that she’s, like, the biggest force in the sport.” 

Osaka’s statement about how the Williams sisters and their father have been a great inspiration for this Japanese rising star of tennis has delighted the fraternity’s heart. She presented an equally aggressive playstyle when she faced off against her icon Serena Williams twice, once at the Australian Open in 2021 and the other in the US Open finals in 2020.

via Reuters

Despite her admiration, Osaka missed no chance to compete exactly like Williams and beat her down both times. However, her victory still garnered many controversies, leading her to think why players shouldn’t meet their idols often.


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Naomi Osaka faced a heartbreaking moment after defeating Serena Williams in the US Open finals in 2021

Defeating someone’s icon can be the same as achieving a long-awaited dream and Naomi Osaka felt the same when she defeated Williams in New York. However, her victory made headlines more for controversies as angry Serena Williams called the chair umpire “thief” during their match. In fact, she refused to shake hands with umpire Carlos Ramos post-match.


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Serena Williams greeted her younger opponent, who defeated her by 6-2 and 6-4, with graceful congratulations. However, the conflict during the match disappointed the Japanese tennis star as she probably had better expectations about the post-match situation. “I’m sorry it had to end like this,” said Osaka with tears in her eyes.

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Naomi Osaka’s heartwarming confession about Serena Williams’s retirement lifts the moods of their fans. Despite the bitterness and on-court rivalry, Osaka’s admiration for Serena Williams is truly commendable.

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