On Friday, 15-year old Coco Gauff advanced to the 3rd round to face another idol, Naomi Osaka. This is as after she beat her ultimate idol Venus Williams in July at Wimbledon to advance to the 4th round. The ladies battled against each other on Saturday and of course, one of our girls had to lose despite us wanting to see them both advance. In the end, it was Osaka who advanced to the next round, seeing Coco Gauff in tears, but the tears meant something.
While Osaka advanced, it was not her play that shined, but rather her sportsmanship and mentorship that will be the most memorable for Gauff and the watchers of the tourney. Osaka, who is the number 1 tennis player in the world provided to be a tough match for teen, but even with her status as number 1, she took some time to share a warm embrace with Gauff as well as words of encouragement. Osaka normally does not do on-court interviews with her opponents, but granted Gauff the opportunity to be interviewed with her.
Gauff initially declined the request because she was scared she was going to cry on camera, but Osaka insisted. The crowd was rallying behind the 15-year old underdog for most of the match.
Naomi told Coco, “These people are here for you. I think it’s better than going into the shower and crying. We have to let these people know how you feel.” Also, during the interview, she said, "You guys raised an amazing player. I remember I used to see you guys train in the same place as us, and for me the fact that both of us made it, and we’re both still working as hard as we can, I think it’s incredible.”
When asked about why she asked Gauff to join her, Osaka told the Washington Post, “It was kind of instinct because when I shook her hand I saw she was kind of tearing up a little, then it reminded me how young she is. Normal people don’t watch the press conferences unless they’re fan-fans, so I was thinking it would be nice for her to address the people who watched her play. For me, I just thought about what I wanted her to feel leaving the court. I wanted her to have her head high and not walk off sad. I feel like the amount of media on her now is kind of insane, so I just want her to take care of herself.”
Regardless of the outcome, we are deeply proud of both women, especially Coco, who is still a high school student that has yet to have her sweet 16.
Osaka's level of class and Gauff even making it far enough to face her is total #BlackGirlMagic.