A viral video has resurfaced online, showing Naomi Osaka offering support to teenage prodigy Coco Gauff at the 2019 US Open.
The Japanese star has made headlines recently after withdrawing from the French Open for personal reasons.
Despite reaching the second-round at Roland-Garros, the 23-year-old cited mental health troubles as the factor behind her leaving the competition, having previously stressed that facing the media was like “kicking a person when they’re down.”
Responses to the world number two’s decision have been mixed, with some media outlets claiming the four-time major winner has used mental health as an excuse, while others offered praise for her bravery in speaking out.
However, many tennis stars have been vocal in their support for the tennis sensation. Serena Williams revealed she wanted to “give her a hug”, Sloane Stephens emphasised that Osaka should be “supported and applauded” and Gauff said: “I hope we can help her.”
Gauff and Osaka have always had a close relationship off the field and this clip of the two at Flushing Meadows exemplifies how highly the Japanese player is regarded by fellow players.
Journalist Benviste shared the clip on Twitter, which shows Osaka consoling a then 15-year-old Gauff after beating her in the third round in New York.
The two time US Open champion urged the teenager to embrace the adoring American crowd and take part in the post-match on-court interview.
“Are you sure? I’m going to cry,” an emotional Gauff said.
“No you’re good, you’re amazing. You’re doing the on-court interview,” Osaka responded earnestly.
After Gauff once again reiterated that she’d struggle to hold back her tears, the former world number one outlined that it was “better than going in the shower and crying,” before adding: “let people know how you feel.”
As the US youngster finally agreed, the crowd erupted into applause and both players paid tribute to one another.
This heartfelt moment not only highlights how selfless Osaka is, but how the tennis world needs her back as soon as possible.
It’s still unclear whether she’ll be at Wimbledon or if her absence will be more prolonged. One can only hope her return is not too far down the line.News Now - Sport News