Despite losing the 2018 U.S. Open Final in a controversy-filled match, Serena Williams came to the aid of her opponent, Naomi Osaka, when the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd booed during the trophy ceremony.
Many have praised her sportsmanship, including United States Tennis Association chairman of the board and president Katrina Adams:
It was unfortunate circumstances for Osaka to be in after winning her first career Grand Slam title. Amid the heavy booing, Williams comforted Osaka, who was seen crying, and urged the crowd to show the 20-year-old some appreciation, via ESPN:
While Osaka won in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4, the match was overshadowed by multiple confrontations between Williams and the chair umpire, and the tennis legend demanded an apology:
The umpire had assessed Williams a coaching violation in the second set after he determined her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, was attempting to aid her with hand gestures from the stands. Williams told the umpire she would rather lose than cheat, although Mouratoglou later told ESPN he was coaching from the stands, calling it a common practice across the sport.
The six-time Open champ was also assed a game penalty later in the second set.
Afterward, Williams made it clear she believed she was the target of sexism, via ESPN:
While Williams took a stand against the chair umpire, the 23-time major champ also did her best to make sure Osaka had her moment to shine.