A series of snaps of Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams without a care in the world show they’ve come a long way since their 2018 scandal.
A series of snaps of Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams without a care in the world show they’ve come a long way since their 2018 scandal.

Serena and Osaka pics tell a very different story

As New York Times journalist Christopher Clarey tweeted: "What a difference 2 years and 4 1/2 months makes."

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams were all smiles on Friday after playing in front of enthusiastic supporters in Adelaide - a phenomenon they'd been robbed of in 2020.

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Williams won their exhibition match in three sets as part of a tune-up for February's Australian Open and, as Clarey pointed out, the pair's demeanour could not have been more different to their most infamous clash at the 2018 US Open.

On that occasion, Osaka won her maiden grand slam title but was reduced to tears during the trophy presentation as Williams' home crowd booed relentlessly, following her explosive altercation with chair umpire Carlos Ramos on that hot-tempered night in New York.

Osaka, 23, has always looked up to Williams, a player 16 years her senior. But what should have been an awesome occasion at Flushing Meadows turned into a nightmare for the young Japanese star, whose crowning glory was covered in controversy.

 

Fast forward to this weekend and after 14 days in quarantine, tennis stars are just happy to be playing at all. Much like Ash Barty, who was still incredibly grateful even after losing to Simona Halep at the Day at the Drive, the wrong result didn't dampen Osaka's mood.

The world No. 3 and Williams spent the aftermath of their match laughing, smiling and chatting together on court, thanking Australia for allowing them to come and compete while international travel remains out of reach for most Aussies.

Osaka now boasts three grand slam titles and is the most marketable player on the women's tour but she's down to earth and still incredibly deferential towards Williams.

"Yesterday with the queen," Osaka wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of the pair getting along like best buds, as well as a throwback snap taken when Osaka looked even more baby-faced than she does now.

 

 

Tennis writer Tumaini Carayol summed up the mood when he tweeted: "Even after all she has achieved, I can't imagine Naomi Osaka is used to these moments with her idol. Nice to see."

Commentator Nick McCarvel said seeing both players converse warmly at the end of the match was his favourite part of the showdown, and a string of photos showed just how appreciative Osaka and Williams were to face each other again in circumstances so different to what they've faced during the pandemic - and on that fateful night in 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Serena, Osaka pics tell a very different story



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