Naomi Osaka said Serena Williams’s row with the umpire during the U.S. Open final had not altered her feelings about winning a Grand Slam.
She said on Thursday that this was largely because she had no idea how she was supposed to react.
Osaka’s breakthrough triumph in New York was overshadowed by an explosive row between her opponent Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos which resulted in the 23-times Grand Slam champion being docked a game and fined 17,000 dollars.
At Flushing Meadows on Saturday, the 20-year-old world number seven was reduced to tears during the presentation ceremony but on her arrival back in Japan on Thursday, she said she had not been saddened by the incident.
“For me, I don’t feel sad because I wouldn’t even know what I’m expected to feel,” she told a news conference in Yokohama.
“Because it was my first final and my first Grand Slam victory, overall I felt really happy and I know that I accomplished a lot.
“I don’t think I even thought about feeling sad because there’s no experience for me to draw on (from) any other Grand Slam final,” she said.
One of the most controversial Grand Slam finals of all time divided tennis and triggered a debate about sexism in the sport, fuelled by Williams’s assertion that Ramos would not have dealt with a male player in the same way.
Much of the criticism of Williams has centred on how her actions had spoilt a precious moment for Osaka, who was even moved to apologise for beating the home favourite to a New York crowd angrily booing Ramos.