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Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff Gave Us All A True Vision Of Sisterhood

There's more to winning than the actual "W".

Image Credit: Getty Images

Last night’s highly anticipated match between Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff at the US Open was one of the big “must see” events on TV, even on the opening weekend of college football.

The match itself wasn’t as thrilling as the hype, as defending Open champ Osaka cruised to an easy victory, 6-3, 6-0, in front of 25,000 fans in Queens, NY.

But it wasn’t the actual match that people became emotional over. It was the sisterhood that played out on the court as soon as the two rising stars met at the net at the end. In a hug felt around the world, Osaka embraced the devastated teenager, showing us all that this wasn’t about a game.

And it didn’t stop there, as Osaka walked over to a crying Gauff and told her to come out with her for the post-match interview.

“I think it’s better than going into the shower and crying” said the equally emotional Osaka, bringing the young tennis star back on the court to the cheers of the crowd.

And that’s when the tears started flowing….for everyone.

“This crowd absolutely loves you,” said ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez. “Wipe those tears away.”

As Coco wiped her tears away and tried to regain her composure, the crowd applauded and waited for her words to come.

“She told me that I did amazing and good luck.” said Coco. “And then she asked if I could do the on-court interview with her, and I said no because I knew I was going to cry the whole time, but she encouraged me to do it.

“She’s been so sweet to me, so thank you for this.”

Some forget that Coco the tennis pro is only 15, and while she’s experienced some amazing success so far, she still has so much to learn and experience, both positively and negatively, which is something that Osaka recognized and understood, as she experienced something similar a year ago in Queens.

After her match with Serena in last year’s Open final, where fans, frustrated with penalties assessed to Serena during their match actually booed after Osaka’s win, marring the moment for Naomi. Serena tried uplift and support the emotional Osaka, letting her know that it was her moment and to ignore the crowd and distractions and savor it for it was hers.

That moment must have resurfaced in her memory as she approached the net to hug young Coco.

“It was kind of instinctive because when I shook her hand, I saw that she was kind of tearing up a little and it reminded me how young she was,” said Osaka later. “For me, I just thought about what I wanted her to feel leaving the court. I wanted her to have her head high, not walk off the court sad. I want her to be aware that she’s accomplished so much, and she’s still so young.”

That full circle moment made her heartwarming decision to bring Coco with her to the mic a vision of sisterhood you rarely see in sports.

“I don’t want people to think I’m trying to take up this moment away from her, ’cause she really deserves it, so thank you.”

The attention then shifted to the defending her champ, who was already shaking her head and letting Coco know that she wasn’t taking anything away from her. This was something they both shared, and allowed us all to partake in.

“I don’t think I’m a mentor. I just want to say, if they’re still here, you guys raised an amazing player.” said Osaka to Coco’s parents as the tears began to flow again.

“For me, like the fact that the both of us made it, and we’re both still working as hard as we can, I think it’s incredible and I think you guys are amazing. I think Coco, you’re amazing.”

On one of the biggest stages in tennis, two young women shared an emotional moment with an equally emotional crowd in Queens and across the world, demonstrating their maturity, vulnerability, sportsmanship, caring and recognition of what it all meant at that moment.

With the number of Black women playing in this year’s Open, you can feel the bond they share despite the fierce competitiveness they display on the court, and you realize immediately that this isn’t about tennis. It’s about sportsmanship, yes, but it’s really about reaching back, “each one teach one” and, most importantly, sisterhood.

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