Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Naomi Osaka "Not Sad" About Serena Controversy Overshadowing US Open Win

Naomi Osaka

The Japanese player's breakthrough triumph in NY was overshadowed by an explosive row between her opponent Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos.

Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka joins #Nissan as brand ambassador.

"Growing up, my dad drove a Nissan, so being able to be a brand ambassador now, it feels like I've come full circle", Osaka said at a contract signing event at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama. Now, the 20-year-old Japanese-Haitian star could be destined for another first to the tune of $8.5 million per year. After becoming the first Japanese to win a Grand Slam singles championship, media reports are calling her a new heroine for Japan.

Despite the drama that plagued their final set, Osaka and Williams put on a beautifully unified front during the awards ceremony, with Williams even whispering affirmations to Osaka before the game ended.

Public attitudes are slowly changing as Japanese society becomes more integrated with the global economy, and the emergence of more ethnically mixed celebrities, especially in sport, is helping. "You're told to just turn around and try to focus, so I tried to do that, but in my mind I was sort of...like, I really wanted to know what was going on".

Osaka said she holds no ill-feelings about what happened against Williams, despite being in tears while receiving the trophy inside New York's Arthur Ashe Stadium.

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The Japanese player said she thought the jeers were directed at her, and began to get a bit overwhelmed by the situation, having missed Williams's argument with the umpire.

"I know the way that I was brought up, people tell me I act kind of Japanese so I guess there is that".

Osaka, now ranked seventh in the world, is aiming to qualify for the WTA Finals in Singapore at the end of the season.

Osaka's deal with Nissan will see appear in global promotions and advertisements for the company, despite the fact she doesn't actually own a vehicle.

'I was really happy she said that'.

"I've always thought that Kei (Nishikori) is a super good role model on the men's side and I wish that there was one on the women's side".

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