NAOMI OSAKA & SERENA WIL­LIAMS

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - Cover Story -

It was sup­posed to be a thrilling game: Serena Wil­liams, 23-time Grand Slam win­ner, a su­per­hero who can turn the pres­sure of the game with the stroke of one serve, fac­ing [then] 20-year old Naomi Osaka, who turned pro at the age of 16 and qual­i­fied for her first Grand Slam only three years later. But fol­low­ing the chair um­pire Car­los Ramos’ three code vi­o­la­tions, Serena gave what she called ‘an im­pas­sioned stand against sex­ism’, call­ing Car­los a ‘liar’ and a ‘thief.’ ‘[Um­pire Ramos] has never taken a game from a man be­cause they said “thief”. For me it blows my mind. But I’m go­ing to con­tinue to fight for women and to fight for us to have [equal­ity] – like [Al­izé] Cor­net should be able to take off her shirt with­out get­ting a fine. This is out­ra­geous. I just feel like the fact that I have to go through this is just an ex­am­ple for the next per­son who has emo­tions, and who wants to ex­press them­selves, and wants to be a strong woman. They’re go­ing to be al­lowed to do that be­cause of to­day. Maybe it didn’t work out for me, but it is go­ing to work out for the next per­son.’ Naomi went on to win the US Open, be­com­ing the first Ja­pa­nese player to win a Grand Slam fi­nal.

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