As Naomi Osaka advances further than she’s ever been at a Grand Slam, the 20-year-old is also learning to deal with all the attention that comes with success on the big stage. On Wednesday, after cruising past Lesia Tsurenko, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the semifinals of the 2018 US Open, no less an authority on the spotlight than Billie Jean King offered Osaka some advice.
When the world No. 20 women’s player was asked after her match in Arthur Ashe Stadium why she wasn’t very animated when the match ended, Osaka confessed she was thinking of her previous match – when she got emotional after defeating Aryna Sabalenka, 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, to reach the quarterfinals.
“I didn't celebrate because the other time I cried a little bit and people made fun of me, so I thought I'd go straight to the net,” said Osaka, who will face the winner of Wednesday night’s Carla Suarez Navarro-Madison Keys quarterfinal match.
After hearing that, King – the three-time US Open champ for whom the National Tennis Center is named – took to Twitter with her advice for Osaka:
Osaka is playing the best tennis of her life, so it appears she will have more and more opportunities to be herself on the big stage.