Serena Williams has released an essay in which she addresses the controversy surrounding her defeat to Naomi Osaka in the finals of the US Open.
The words were published just under a year after the event that left Williams heartbroken for more ways than one.
Williams lost the final in two straight sets [6-2, 6-4] to the Japanese player, who claimed her first ever major title.
But the touching moment was completely overshadowed by Williams’ outburst to the umpire Carlos Ramos.
After a number of decisions failed to go the American’s way, she often shouted at the umpire and even went as far as to call him a “thief”.
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The events culminated with Williams being docked a game.
In a link posted on her Instagram account, Williams – in the essay – talked about how much regret she had over that day and how sorry she was to Osaka for how the events unfolded on “something that should have been amazing and historic.”
“Not only was a game taken from me, but a defining, triumphant moment was taken from another player, something she should remember as one of the happiest memories in her long and successful career,” Williams wrote, as per The Statesman. “My heart broke.”
In quite a touching tribute to both herself and Osaka, Williams wrote about having to see a therapist before she could even pick up a racket again. She also included the message she wrote out to her former opponent and the response she received from her.
“Hey, Naomi! It’s Serena Williams. As I said on the court, I am so proud of you and I am truly sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself. But I had no idea the media would pit us against each other. I would love the chance to live that moment over again. I am, was, and will always be happy for you and supportive of you.
"I would never, ever want the light to shine away from another female, specifically another black female athlete. I can’t wait for your future and believe me I will always be watching as a big fan! I wish you only success today and in the future. Once again, I am so proud of you. All my love and your fan, Serena.”
Naomi’s response was exactly what Williams needed and inadvertently made her cry.
“People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can’t differentiate between the two,” Naomi said, according to Serena. “No one has stood up for themselves the way you have, and you need to continue trailblazing.”
Williams rather fittingly finished the essay by referencing the influence her family have had on her since the final.
“Ultimately, my daughter is the reason I use my voice, the reason I picked up a racket again,” concluded Williams.
Since she has picked the racket back up, Williams has got back to her usual best and continued to be successful. Her most recent of which came in the ongoing Wimbledon tournament after she prevailed to the semi-finals, beating American compatriot Alison Riske inside three sets.