Yesterday’s women’s singles final at the U.S. Tennis Open was epic on many levels. The game was a brilliant display of mastery–technical, physical and psychological by Osaka with momentary flashes of the same by Serena. Fans also witnessed another monumental moment in tennis in yesterday’s championship match.
With all eyes on her, Serena stunned spectators and officials with her aberrant, openly emotional on-court behavior protesting alleged gender-based, unfair application of rules by the now infamous umpire, Carlos Ramos.
It must have been gut-wrenching for Serena to confront the fact that her dream of exceeding Margaret Court’s record 24 women’s singles titles and 64 grand slam wins could be slipping through her fingers. It was devastating and disconcerting to watch Serena literally meet her match in the person of the 20-year-old newcomer, Osaka.
As for Naomi, we can only imagine how surreal it must have felt to witness the on-court meltdown of your life-long idol while in the midst of living your dream–playing for the U.S. Open Women’s Singles Championship against the world’s best, your idol, Serena Williams.
Osaka’s powerful serve, strategic and physical prowess and utter calm matched and often exceeded Serena’s legendary mastery of the game. Congratulations, Naomi. You are in the running to become our new crown princess of women’s tennis.
Godspeed Serena as you come to terms with the next chapter of your game and your life. If anyone can rise again, it is you.
Even though we heard little mention of Naomi’s Haitian roots, she is in fact, black. There were two black women on the court yesterday making history, again. Naomi’s sister, Mari, is also a professional tennis player. The comparisons to the careers of Venus and Serena Williams are inevitable. They changed the game. Will Naomi and Mari usher us into the next game-changing era? Will women of color, sisters, change the game, again?