The excitement of 15-year-old prodigy Coco Gauff tennis rise to the top came to an end when she fell in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0, to No. 1 Naomi Osaka in the third round Saturday at the U.S. Open. After the match, Osaka and Coco met at the center of the court and gave each other a hug.
Osaka wanted Coco to participate in the interview with her. Coco said she’d cry if she had to do it, but Osaka insisted that it’d feel better to let any emotion out in front of an appreciative crowd than to go in the shower and cry. It was a wonderful act of compassion from the top-ranked player.
Osaka has been refreshing, endearing, and candid. As evidenced in another instance not too long ago, she can be openly devastated when faced with defeat. The 21-year-old was compelling before she broke through, but now that she’s at the top of women’s tennis, it’s fascinating to watch how she handles the responsibility of the status. Osaka had a sense of what Gauff was going through after that loss, and tried to numb the pain. The kindness shown toward Coco was what good sportsmanlike conduct looks like. Congratulations to both ladies.