"I started playing because of her" - Osaka credits Serena Williams as inspiration for several female players
Naomi Osaka has credited 23-time Grand Slam champion as the reason why she and many other female tennis players picked up tennis, stating that the American helped build many champions.
After her loss to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the 2021 US Open, Osaka stated she would be taking some time away from competitive tennis. In an appearance on HBO’s The Shop, the four-time Grand Slam titlist revealed she is itching to make her return, and praised Williams as a source of inspiration for her and several other female tennis players.
“If I were to retire from tennis, I would want people to remember me with how I acted towards people and like how I interacted,” said Osaka.
“Serena. Her legacy is more than her being Serena. I started playing because of her. I’m sure there’s so many other girls that started playing because of her, so she literally built champions.
“And I think passing it down is how the newer generations get inspired.”