It’s tough to take your eyes off Serena Williams when she’s playing—or clashing with a chair umpire.
Yet, that’s exactly what Naomi Osaka did during her 6-2, 6-4, victory over her tennis idol in the US Open final.
While a seething Serena called chair umpire Carlos Ramos “a thief” after he called a coaching violation on her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, Osaka tuned out the kerfuffle.
In an appearance on The Ellen Show, the 20-year-old Osaka detailed her reaction to the controversial climax of the match that saw Ramos dock Williams a game for verbal abuse that followed a racquet smashing outburst.
“I don’t know if you know this, but there was some controversy that happened on the court,” Ellen deadpanned.
Osaka said she resisted temptation to get caught up in the tempest.
“When you’re little, you’re taught not to look if you’re opponent gets angry or anything,” Osaka told Ellen. “You’re told to turn around and try to focus. So I tried to do that. In my mind, I really wanted to know what was going on. I heard a lot of people in the crowd making noises so I really wanted to turn around, but I didn’t.”
Osaka also confessed initially she thought fans were booing her rather than the circus-like circumstances of the final.
“At the time, I did kind of think they were booing me,” Osaka told Ellen. “Because I couldn’t tell what was going on. Because it was so loud in there. It was a little bit stressful.”
The US Open champion revealed when she covered her face with a towel after the final, she was actually reading notes for her victory speech “because I’m not really good at talking.”
“Gee, you seem so outgoing and boisterous,” Ellen joked.
Photo credit: The Ellen Show