After Naomi Osaka won the U.S. Open finals Saturday, she told ESPN that she was "sorry it had to end like this."
Standing up on the podium with competitor Serena Williams, Osaka was distraught, despite having won the first Grand Slam title of her career. The 20-year-old tennis phenom told NBC's Today on Monday that she felt like she "had to apologize" after beating Williams 6-4, 6-2.
"I don't know, I just felt like everyone was sort of unhappy up there," she said. "I know that ending wasn't how people wanted it to be." Osaka told her side of the story regarding a controversial ending to the match; after Williams received a warning and a penalty, she called the umpire a "thief," leading him to penalize her a full game. Osaka, who grew up idolizing Williams, said she couldn't quite tell what was going on between her opponent and the umpire, and was confused when the crowd began booing.
"I felt a little bit sad because I wasn't really sure if they were booing at me, or if it wasn't the outcome that they wanted,'' said Osaka. "And then I also could sympathize, because I've been a fan of Serena my whole life, and I knew how badly the crowd wanted her to win. I don't know, I was just really emotional." Williams pleaded with fans not to boo during the trophy ceremony, and said Osaka "deserved to win." Watch Osaka's interview with Today below, via NBC. Summer Meza