Naomi Osaka says US Open victory feels strange after beating Serena Williams
By Rory O'Callaghan
Last Updated: 10/09/18 2:32pm
US Open champion Naomi Osaka admits she is still coming to terms with her shock victory over Serena Williams.
Osaka claimed her maiden Grand Slam title with a 6-2 6-4 win on Saturday - denying Williams the chance to move level with Margaret Court on 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
The match was largely overshadowed by the veteran American's on-court outburst, in which she accused chair umpire Carlos Ramos of being a "liar and a thief".
"It was really weird for me the whole experience," said Osaka, who rose to a career-high ranking of world No 7 following her win over Williams.
"It did feel like a dream and it still doesn't feel like it really happened even though I'm holding the trophy.
"Every hour that passes it feels more and more real. It is one of things that I'm always going to cherish the memory of."
Ramos was booed by the crowd after handing Williams an initial code violation for coaching, a penalty point for racket abuse and a game penalty for branding him a "thief".
Williams refused to shake hands with Ramos after the match and accused him of sexism in her post-match press conference.
Osaka says she understands the reaction from the fans at the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
"I could really feel for them," she said. "I know Serena is a crowd favourite, it's New York, it's in America and it's the US Open so I knew everyone knew how badly she wanted to win the 24th Grand Slam.
"For me I felt like I was a kid, I know for sure if I was in the crowd I would have been cheering for Serena too.
"I'm really grateful they were so kind to me. It was my first Grand Slam so I'm really grateful for that."
Osaka is the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam title and the 20-year-old received a message of congratulations from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after her victory.
When asked if she was aware of her popularity back home, Osaka said: "I'm not really sure.
"I think there is a lot of buzz back home but I haven't really checked social media yet. I've heard that there is a lot of people saying congratulations so I'm really grateful for that."