Serena Williams penned an emotional essay detailing the controversial US Open, in which she lost out to rising tennis star, Naomi Osaka.
Serena detailed her outburst on the court:
"Fast-forward to September 2018. It’s the final of the US Open, and I’m competing to win my 24th Grand Slam against Naomi Osaka. It’s the beginning of the second set, and the umpire thinks he spots my coach signaling me from the stands. He issues a violation—a warning. I approach him and emphatically state the truth: that I wasn’t looking at my coach. “I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose,” I said," she wrote for the article published by Harper's Bazaar.
"I walk back to the court and lose the next point. I smash my racket in frustration; he issues another violation and gives a point to my opponent. I feel passionately compelled to stand up for myself. I call him a thief; I again demand an apology. I tell him he is penalizing me for being a woman. He responds by issuing a third violation and takes a game from me. In the end, my opponent simply played better than me that day and ended up winning her first Grand Slam title. I could not have been happier for her. As for me, I felt defeated and disrespected by a sport that I love—one that I had dedicated my life to and that my family truly changed, not because we were welcomed, but because we wouldn’t stop winning."
She then spoke about her disappointment over her reaction to Osaka's win.
"As for me, I felt defeated and disrespected by a sport that I love—one that I had dedicated my life to and that my family truly changed, not because we were welcomed, but because we wouldn't stop winning," she wrote.
Williams then revealed that she spent time pondering the event, and even leaned on therapy to help her navigate through all of the backlash. She then worked up the courage to call Osaka to apologize to her for her behavior during and following the match:
"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," Serena Recalled.
"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."