“She’s the biggest force in the sport, not intentionally trying to make Federer or Nadal smaller but she’s the biggest thing that will ever be in the sport” – Naomi Osaka on Serena Williams

Ahead of the 2022 US Open, Naomi Osaka shared her thoughts on Serena Williams‘ impending retirement.

In a Vogue article published earlier in the month, Williams announced her impending retirement from the sport, likely after the US Open. In her last outing at Flushing Meadows, Williams will be hoping to win the title and tie Margaret Court’s 24 Grand Slam singles title record.

In Vogue’s September issue, @serenawilliams prepares to say farewell to tennis on her own terms and in her own words. “It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine,” she says. “I don’t want it to be over, but at the same time I’m ready for what’s next”

Naomi Osaka was asked about Williams’ retirement in a pre-US Open press conference and stated that she was the “biggest force in the sport,” while adding that she didn’t want to denigrate Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.

“I honestly think that she’s, like, the biggest force in the sport,” Osaja said, adding, “That’s not intentionally trying to, like, make Federer or Nadal smaller. I just think she’s the biggest thing that will ever be in the sport. It’s just really an honor just to watch her play. She’s giving us a chance to, like, watch her more.”

Osaka stated that the 23-time Grand Slam winner’s legacy is so “wide” that it is impossible to explain in words, adding that she was a product of her influence.

“I think that her legacy is really wide to the point where you can’t even describe it in words. Like, she changed the sport so much. She’s introduced people that have never heard of tennis into the sport. I think I’m a product of what she’s done. I wouldn’t be here without Serena, Venus, her whole family. I’m, like, very thankful to her,” Naomi Osaka said.

“Well, it was really weird, for some reason I just started crying”- Naomi Osaka on her initial reaction to Serena Williams retirement announcement

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams at the 2021 Australian Open
Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams at the 2021 Australian Open

When asked about her initial response to Serena Williams’ retirement announcement, Naomi Osaka stated that she instantly started crying. She did, however, add that it was an “honor” to simply continue to watch the American play.

“Well, it was really weird, I watched her first match in Toronto before she announced it, for some reason I just started crying because I felt it,” Osaka said. “I kind of felt like she was gearing up for her last U.S. swing. I just started crying.”

“Then she announced it the day later. I’m like, Oh, my God, this is what devastation must feel like. Yeah, it really is an honor just to keep watching her play,” she added.

Playing unseeded at the US Open for the first time since 2017, Osaka will open her campaign with a first-round clash against 2022 Australian Open runner-up Danielle Collins.

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