On Saturday, team Japan tennis player Naomi Osaka played her idol tennis legend Serena Williams at the US Open Grand Slam. After a controversial game with questionable calls from the umpire, Osaka was declared the winner. And while Williams says that the male umpire "took a game" from her—when he claimed she was guilty of on-court coaching and when she was penalized for calling him a "thief" during the game—she still tells the audience to cease their booing, and instead celebrate Osaka's win during the players very first Grand Slam.
.@serenawilliams instructs crowd to stop booing and celebrate @Naomi_Osaka_'s moment of winning her first grand slam. #USOpen pic.twitter.com/LOAyB42OmQ— Jeff Eisenband (@JeffEisenband) September 8, 2018
By the end, both players were in tears for different reasons, but the love and respect for each other was there. Osaka happily took home her trophy, thanking her parents and her crew.
At the press conference following the game, Serena was asked about how she felt about the umpire's ruling. Still teary-eyed, she told reporters, "I can't sit here and say I wouldn't say he's a thief, because I thought he took a game from me. But I've seen other men call other umpires several things. I'm here fighting for women's rights and for women's equality and for all kinds of stuff. For me to say 'thief' and for him to take a game, it made me feel like it was a sexist remark. He's never taken a game from a man because they said 'thief.'"
Everyone should listen to this from Serena Williams. pic.twitter.com/TF03dhpq2P— Cameron Cox (@CamCox12) September 8, 2018
Afterwards, another tennis legend, Billie Jean King tweeted congratulating Osaka for her win, but also tweeted in support of Serena and female athletes everywhere. She wrote, "When a woman is emotional, she's "hysterical" and she's penalized for it. When a man does the same, he's "outspoken" & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same."
Congratulations on winning the 2018 @usopen, @naomi_osaka_. This win is just the beginning of a bright future. Tennis is in an exciting place right now with players like you. #Champion #usopen— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 8, 2018
(2/2) When a woman is emotional, she’s “hysterical” and she’s penalized for it. When a man does the same, he’s “outspoken” & and there are no repercussions. Thank you, @serenawilliams, for calling out this double standard. More voices are needed to do the same.— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) September 9, 2018
This is just one example that shows that Billie Jean King and Serena Williams are not just tennis legends, but true feminist icons who are here to fight the patriarchal system, and not to drag other women down.
Image via Getty