World No. 1 Naomi Osaka dominated in the third round of the U.S. Open, beating Coco Gauff in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0. But perhaps the best part of their match was just after it ended, as the two powerful tennis stars shared a wonderful and authentic moment of sportsmanship at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The pair exchanged multiple hugs afterward, and 15-year-old Gauff was noticeably emotional. Osaka, who’s only 21, comforted her opponent and — as Gauff explained in her post-match interview — asked Gauff to do the on-court interview with her.
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Gauff said she initially said no to Naomi’s request because she thought she’d cry through the whole thing, but the defending U.S. Open champ encouraged her to do it.
A fan favorite throughout the tournament, Coco, fighting through tears, praised Osaka’s game and said she’ll learn a lot from the loss, adding:
“She’s been so sweet to me, so thank you for this. Thank you. … Once again, thank you, Naomi. I don’t want people I’m trying to take this moment away from her because she really deserves it. So thank you.”
Osaka shook her head as if to say Coco wasn’t taking anything from her. And when it was her turn to speak, she almost immediately turned to Gauff’s parents in the stands. Speaking directly to them, she also got choked up a bit:
“You guys raised an amazing player. I remember I used to see you guys — I don’t want to cry — I remember I used to see you guys training 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. And I think you guys are amazing. I think Coco, you’re amazing.”
Coco remained on the court during Naomi’s interview, and the two hugged again before parting ways. It was a beautiful and perfect moment of two strong women supporting each other.
Read the rest of the story at FTW.