Tennis superstar Serena Williams lost the U.S. Open last September after three controversial on-court violations. Now, Williams reveals that she wrote a letter to opponent Naomi Osaka to apologize for arguing with the umpire and taking the spotlight away from the game.
Williams was issued three violations, one each for illegal coaching, breaking her racquet, and verbal abuse after she accused umpire Carlos Ramos of sexism. Williams ultimately lost the game to 21-year-old Osaka.
Williams recently penned an essay for Harper’s Bazaar about the incident saying she wasn’t able to “find peace,” after the game. She was hurt about receiving the violations and said she felt she ruined the moment for Osaka.
“In the end, my opponent simply played better than me that day and ended up winning her first Grand Slam title,” Williams wrote. “I could not have been happier for her. As for me, I felt defeated and disrespected by a sport that I love.”
In the essay, Williams said that after the game, she began to see a therapist and during this time she wasn’t able to play tennis. She decided the only way to move forward was to write to Osaka.
“I thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself,” Williams says she wrote in the letter. “But I had no idea the media would pit us against each other. I would love the chance to live that moment over again. I am, was, and will always be happy for you and supportive of you.”
The piece also included mention of Osaka’s response to her, saying that the Japanese tennis pro said, “people can mistake anger for strength,” and that Osaka’s kind response made her cry.
The 23 time Grand Slam singles winner and Olympian continued to say that her treatment by the umpire illustrated what women experience in the workday every day.
Although Williams wrote that it was a long time before she picked up a racquet again, she is currently playing at Wimbledon. Williams beat out Carla Suarez Navarro to reach the quarter-finals on Monday and is teamed up with Andy Murray in the mixed doubles. The duo is currently playing Fabrice Martin and Raquel Atawo.
According to The Independent, it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Williams in this tournament either. She was fined $10,000 for damaging a Wimbledon court at the All England Club with her racquet during a practice game before the tournament started.