Naomi Osaka says Serena Williams may retire, but her legacy will live on through other black athletes who grew up watching and idolizing the American tennis great. Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, used to watch Williams on television and believed that she could one day be a tennis superstar.
«I remember when I was a kid I looked in awe, and I was so happy to see a strong black woman on my screen,» Osaka told TIME magazine. “Even though she retires, her legacy definitely lives on through Coco. [Gauff]sloane [Stephens]madison [Keys]and other women of color at the top of their game.
Serena is unequivocally the greatest athlete of all time. Forget female athlete, I mean athlete. No one else has changed her sport as much as she has and against all odds.”
Osaka: Williams changed the game a lot
During her pre-tournament press conference at the US Open, Osaka described Williams as «the greatest force in the sport».
Osaka, who is now a Grand Slam champion and has been the top-ranked player in the world, said she would not have been in this position were it not for Williams and her influence. «I think her legacy is so vast that she can’t even be described in words.
She changed the sport a lot. She has introduced people to the sport who have never heard of tennis. I think I am a product of what she has done. I wouldn’t be here without Serena, Venus, her whole family. I am very grateful to her,» said Osaka.
Before the start of the US Open, Cori Gauff showed her respect and appreciation for Williams. Gauff said the reason she picked up a racket and believed she could be great one day was because of Serena and Venus Williams. Williams has influenced the game in many ways and has left a huge mark on tennis history.