Less than a year after Serena Williams lost at the 2018 U.S. Open, the seasoned tennis pro is apologizing once again for how she handled the situation.
As we reported, the 23-time Grand Slam champion got into a verbal altercation with umpire Carlos Ramos, after he issued her a code violation for allegedly receiving coaching from the stands from her trainer, Patrick Mouratoglou.
Following the spat, Williams broke her racket in frustration and was later slapped with three separate fines totalling $17,000 for the racket smash, coaching violation, and verbal abuse toward the official.
Now, with the benefit of hindsight, Serena realizes she was in the wrong.
In a new essay for Harper’s Bazaar, Serena reflects on how the entire fiasco totally marred her the historic victory for her opponent, 20-year-old Naomi Osaka.
She candidly admits:
“In the end, my opponent simply played better than me that day and ended up winning her first Grand Slam title. I thought back to my first Grand Slam. It’s one you remember best; it’s supposed to be the most special.
This debacle ruined 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.”
It’s hard to forget the way the half-Japanese, half-Haitian tennis star was overcome with emotion and broke down in tears — as the crowd booed her technical victory over Williams.
It’s certainly a moment Naomi, Serena, and millions of fans of the sport around the world will remember for years to come.
Especially when you consider the way celebs rallied around the 37-year-old after a racist cartoonist gave their take on her controversial behavior.
In the new essay, Meghan Markle‘s bestie shares that she wasn’t able to “find peace” or return to practice as usual during the aftermath of the match; in the end she had to turn to professional help to make sense of the heated moment:
“I started seeing a therapist. I was searching for answers, and although I felt like I was making progress, I still wasn’t ready to pick up a racket.”
After some soul-searching and reflection, Williams says she knew it was time to formally apologize to her peer.
Read her full apology, included in the article (below):
“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.”
What a classy and mature approach!
The message was well-received by Osaka, who graciously penned a reply which shows a level of wisdom far beyond her years:
“People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can’t differentiate between the two. No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing.”
Williams also offered some poignant commentary on how the U.S. Open incident directly parallels how many women are treated in the workforce when they speak up:
“This incident — though excruciating for us to endure — exemplified how thousands of women in every area of the workforce are treated every day. We are not allowed to have emotions, we are not allowed to be passionate. We are told to sit down and be quiet, which frankly is just not something I’m okay with. It’s shameful that our society penalizes women just for being themselves.”
Keep preaching, girl!
We’re glad these two talented ladies were able to come together and officially settle their differences.
You can catch both Williams and Osaka competing for the championship at Wimbledon 2019, going on now through July 14.
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