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Naomi Osaka and the art of humility

Monday, September 10, 2018

So, we now have a new and surprising entrant into the Grand Slam arena. When Naomi Osaka went on to beat the formidable Serena Williams during the ladies final of the US Open tennis tourney over the weekend, she became the first Japanese to win the Grand Slam. Yet, for those who watched the match, the image that remains is of a rather unpleasant evening in which Serena lost her temper thrice (at the referee), and smashed her racket on the court. It did not help that the crowd played partisan and rooted almost wholly for Serena right up to the awards ceremony. The BBC reports of the presentation ceremony: “Boos continued to be heard at the end of the match and again when the presentation began. Osaka began to cry which is when Serena. 16 years older than her opponent, intervened as her maternal instinct kicked in. ‘Let's not boo anymore,’ she pleaded. ‘Congratulations Naomi. No more booing.’ The crowd responded and the jeers turned to cheers as Osaka took the microphone. ‘I know everyone was cheering for her and I am sorry it has to end like this,’ Osaka said.” Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash said: "This was the most bizarre match and presentation I have ever seen." What the more discerning media is saying about new champion Osaka is -- humility and a sweet innocence off the court, but explosive hitting and steeliness on it, one imagines she will have more Grand Slam victories to savour in the future.

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