NEW YORK — Naomi Osaka walked to the net, the excitement of being a Grand Slam champion mixed with a bit of sadness.
She grew up rooting for Serena Williams, even did a report on her way back in third grade. Her dream was to play her idol at the U.S. Open.
So when she had actually done it, beating Williams 6-2, 6-4 on Saturday night to become the first Grand Slam singles champion from Japan, why was it so difficult?
“Because I know that, like, she really wanted to have the 24th Grand Slam, right?” Osaka said. “Everyone knows this. It’s on the commercials, it’s everywhere.
“When I step onto the court, I feel like a different person, right? I’m not a Serena fan. I’m just a tennis player playing another tennis player. But then when I hugged her at the net … I felt like a little kid again.”
Osaka teared up as she was finishing her answer, still overwhelmed as she juggled the idea of her winning and Williams losing.
The way Williams lost, of course, was what stood out most in the match. The arguments with chair umpire Carlos Ramos and the three code violations.
On Sunday, a day after the match, the tournament referee’s office docked Williams $10,000 for “verbal abuse” of chair umpire Carlos Ramos, $4,000 for being warned for coaching and $3,000 for breaking her racket.
The money comes out of her prize money of $1.85 million as the runner-up to Osaka.
In the second set’s second game, Ramos warned Williams for getting coaching, which is against the rules in Grand Slam matches. She briefly disputed that ruling, saying cheating “is the one thing I’ve never done, ever” — although afterward, her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, acknowledged he was trying to send Williams a signal.
A few games later, Williams received another warning, this time for smashing her racket, and that second violation automatically cost her a point, leading to more arguing. Eventually, Williams called Ramos “a thief,” drawing the third violation for “verbal abuse” — and costing her a game, putting Osaka ahead 5-3.
“I have never cheated in my life!” Williams told Ramos. “You owe me an apology.”
Under Article III, Section P of the Grand Slam Rule Book, “verbal abuse” is defined as “a statement about an official, opponent, sponsor, spectator or other person that implies dishonesty or is derogatory, insulting or otherwise abusive.” The section says a player is subject to a fine up to $20,000 for each violation.
There are separate categories for coaching (“Communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching”) and for abuse of rackets or equipment.
Associated Press writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.
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