Serena Williams apologised to Naomi Osaka for her outburst in the US Open final but maintains the incident demonstrated the unequal treatment received by female and male competitors.

Williams went down 6-2 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium last September as Osaka claimed her maiden grand slam success.

But it was her veteran opponent's reaction on the way to being denied a record-equalling 24th major triumph that stole the headlines, with Williams responding furiously to umpire Carlos Ramos handing her a game penalty after the official initially penalised her for a coaching violation.

In an article for Harper's Bazaar, the 37-year-old explained she took a long time to get over the defeat and started seeing a therapist. She concluded the potential impact upon Osaka was the root of her lingering disquiet, so reached out to the Japanese.

"Finally I realised that there was only one way for me to move forward. It was time for me to apologise to the person who deserved it the most," Williams wrote. "I started to type, slowly at first, then faster as if the words were flowing out of me."

Her message read: "Hey, Naomi! It's Serena Williams. As I said on the court, I am so proud of you and I am truly sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself. 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. I would never, ever want the light to shine away from another female, specifically another black female athlete.

"I can't wait for your future, and believe me I will always be watching as a big fan! I wish you only success today and in the future. Once again, I am so proud of you. All my love, your fan, Serena."

In a response that reduced Williams to tears, Osaka stated, "People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can't differentiate between the two," and added, "No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing".

At the time, Williams complained to tournament referee Brian Earley that her punishment was disproportionate when set against male players who have behaved in the same way. Osaka's reply sharpened her focus on this.

"This incident—though excruciating for us to endure—exemplified how thousands of women in every area of the workforce are treated every day," she continued. "We are not allowed to have emotions, we are not allowed to be passionate. We are told to sit down and be quiet, which frankly is just not something I'm okay with.

"It's shameful that our society penalises women just for being themselves."

Reflecting upon her career struggles, Williams added: "In short, it's never been easy. But then I think of the next girl who is going to come along who looks like me, and I hope, 'Maybe, just maybe, my voice will help her'."

Osaka added this year's Australian Open to her haul, while Williams progressed to the semi-finals of Wimbledon on Tuesday with gripping 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over Alison Riske.

Ashleigh Barty insists she is feeling no added pressure at Wimbledon in her first tournament as the world number one.

The French Open champion succeeded Naomi Osaka as the WTA Tour's top-ranked player at the Birmingham Classic, with the Japanese having endured a miserable stint since her Australian Open success in January.

Osaka acknowledged ahead of Wimbledon the role of number one brought "way more stress and pressure than I could have imagined" and her poor form continued with a first-round defeat at the All England Club on Monday.

But Barty triumphed against Zheng Saisai in straight sets the following day and appears keen not to worry about her ranking.

"I think, for me, it's a little bit irrelevant," she said after the 6-4 6-2 win. "The only pressure I have is what I put on myself, making sure I'm doing all the right things, preparing in the right way.

"Ultimately, when we play our matches, we go out there and enjoy it. That's why we do all the work, all the practices, to go out there and enjoy competing."

She added: "The first round is always very tough. It took time to get used to the conditions and the beautiful court with the new roof.

"It feels incredible. It is a little bizarre [to be number one], but this sacred turf we get to play on, you have to enjoy every minute of it."

Barty will not look too far ahead, either, or allow herself to dream of a second consecutive grand slam title just yet.

"For me, it's a possibility," the Australian said. "But it's certainly not something we're thinking about.

"It's about going match by match, trying to do the best that I can in every single tennis match that we play here. If we can give ourselves the opportunity, that would be great."

Lindsay Davenport believes Naomi Osaka looks "lost and overwhelmed" after the two-time grand slam champion exited Wimbledon in the first round.

Osaka triumphed at both the US Open and the Australian Open but then saw her form desert her after becoming world number one in Melbourne.

She has not won a WTA Tour title since and followed up a third-round French Open defeat against Katerina Siniakova by losing to Yulia Putintseva in straight sets at the All England Club on Monday.

Osaka suggested before Wimbledon that she was glad to be out of the spotlight having lost her ranking to Roland Garros champion Ashleigh Barty, yet she again struggled in London.

And 1999 Wimbledon champion Davenport hopes Osaka can adjust and return to form soon.

"It's been hard to watch Osaka play from about mid-February of this year," she told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of HSBC, supporter of the Wimbledon Foundation's Official Ticket Resale Scheme.

"It was one of the most exciting stories to see her in New York last year, to see her in Melbourne this year, to see her get her second grand slam.

"She looks a little bit lost right now and, I think, a little bit overwhelmed from all the fame that came her way from being a two-time grand slam champion, a lot of endorsement deals, a lot of outside interest in her now.

"I think she's struggling to kind of understand her new world. And hopefully it translates to her improving on the tennis court. Everybody wants to see Osaka playing her best, happy, out on court, winning matches.

"But it just looks like right now it's one of those tough times. And everybody knows she's going to come back stronger. I just hope that it's sooner, rather than later."

Davenport believes Barty will be able to deal with the same pressure, though, backing her to win at Wimbledon.

"I think it's very possible Ash Barty wins her second grand slam here, and her second in a row," she said.

"Clay is her worst surface. She surprised everybody by being able to win the French. This is actually the time of year she wants to play her best.

"She thinks she's a great grass-court player, she likes to come to net, she's got a great game. I think it's very likely that she wins two in a row.

"That top portion of the draw, though, is very tough - with [Angelique] Kerber also in her section, Serena [Williams] as well. They were calling it, in the women's side, the 'group of death'.

"We'll see who's able to come through there, but I love Ashleigh's game, love how she's been able to handle it all.

"We've seen Osaka, seen all the pressure she's felt being the world number one and a grand slam champion. So far it hasn't hit Barty. That's a great sign, she's so relaxed about it."

Cori Gauff was in dreamland after the 15-year-old sent shockwaves around Wimbledon by beating Venus Williams, while an emotional Naomi Osaka crashed out on day one.

Gauff became the youngest player to qualify for the grass-court grand slam in the Open Era last week and stunned her idol Williams 6-4 6-4 in her first main-draw match at a major on Monday.

Osaka was unable to join American prospect Gauff in round two, Yulia Putintseva beating the second seed 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 at the All England Club.

Magdalena Rybarikova will be teenager Gauff's next opponent after the Slovakian toppled 10th seed Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 6-4.

Simona Halep was troubled by her knee and Achilles, but the former world number one battled past Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4 7-5, while third seed Karolina Pliskova and eighth seed Elina Svitolina defeated Zhu Lin and Daria Gavrilova respectively.

Caroline Garcia, Marketa Vondrousova and Daria Kasatkina were the other seeds to fall on the opening day at SW19.



Gauff produced an astonishing performance on the renovated No.1 Court and the world number 313 was reduced to tears after dumping out 39-year-old Williams.

Williams had won Wimbledon twice by the time Gauff was born, but it was the youngster who came out on top in the battle of the generations after making only eight unforced errors.

"This is the first time I ever cried after winning a match," Gauff told BBC Sport. "I never thought this would happen. I don't know how to explain it. I'm literally living my dream. Not many people get to say that.

"When we shook hands she told me congratulations and to keep going and good luck. I said, 'Thank you for everything you've done.' I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her."



Osaka cut her press conference short after losing to an inspired Putintseva as the two-time major champion was "about to cry."

The Kazakh maintained her perfect record against the US Open and Australian Open champion with an inspired display, Osaka paying the price for 38 unforced errors.

The Japanese struggled on grass once again in a tournament where she has not been beyond the third round, losing to Putintseva for the third time last than two weeks after she got the better of her in Birmingham.



Seventh seed Halep fell awkwardly during her encounter with Sasnovich on the same court where Gauff later stunned Williams.

The 2018 French Open champion needed treatment after overextending when she fell to the turf but was able to solider on with her left ankle strapped.

Romanian Halep said: "It's okay in this moment. But I need to do the treatment. I feel a little bit. I think it's a little bit stretched, the muscle behind the knee, and also the Achilles. Hopefully is nothing dangerous and I can recover until the next match [against compatriot Mihaela Buzarnescu]."

Second seed Naomi Osaka was the first major casualty at Wimbledon on day one, losing in straight sets to an inspired Yulia Putintseva.

Putintseva has never been beyond the second round at the All England Club, but stunned a nervy Osaka with a 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 victory on Monday.

The 39-ranked Putintseva won her previous two encounters with Osaka - most recently in Birmingham last month - and sent the world number two packing on Centre Court.

US and Australian Open champion Osaka racked up 38 unforced errors, struggling badly on grass once again at a grand slam where she has not been past round three.

Kazakh Putintseva capitalised on an uncertain display from Osaka, making just seven unforced errors and breaking three times to move into the second round.

While there were 34 winners from Osaka, the 21-year-old from Japan bowed out in an hour and 35 minutes at the All England Club. 

Osaka led 3-1 in the opening set, but Putintseva won the next three games and also stormed back from 3-1 down in the tie-break.

Putintseva allowed Osaka just a solitary break-point opportunity in the second set and won five games in a row to claim the biggest victory of her career, Osaka heading for the exit after netting a backhand.

Venus Williams will tackle record-breaking teenager Cori Gauff on Court One in an all-American battle of the generations at Wimbledon on Monday.

Five-time former SW19 champion Williams, 39, was drawn on Friday to face the youngest player to ever come through the women's singles qualifying rounds.

Gauff has cited Venus and sister Serena as inspirations behind her career, and the Florida-based 15-year-old has enjoyed success in junior grand slams.

The biggest test of her fledgling career is also rated by many as the most eagerly anticipated match of the opening day at the championships, however it misses out on Centre Court billing.

But a slot third on the second largest court means, with a likely late-afternoon start in London, it should attract a strong television audience both in the UK and the United States.

Novak Djokovic, as the defending men's champion, is handed the customary honour of getting action under way on Centre Court when he faces German veteran Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Japanese world number two Naomi Osaka plays Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva in the second match on the main show court, followed by British 30th seed Kyle Edmund's opener against Spaniard Jaume Munar.

Simona Halep and Alexander Zverev are handed Court One opportunities, with Stan Wawrinka, Eastbourne winner Karolina Pliskova, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Caroline Wozniacki on Court Two.

Play starts at 11:00 local time on all courts other than Centre and Court One, where action begins two hours later.

Last year's men's runner-up, Kevin Anderson of South Africa, starts out on Court Three when he plays France's Pierre-Hugues Herbert, the man who will partner Andy Murray in doubles later in the week.

Heather Watson, Britain's only other singles player in action on Monday, gets proceedings going on Court 12 when she plays 17-year-old American Caty McNally.

McNally has lost in each of the last three Wimbledon girls' doubles finals but won the 2018 US Open junior title in tandem with Gauff.

"I think it's better for me now to be lower-ranked," Naomi Osaka told reporters at the All England Club this weekend.

Two-time grand slam champion Osaka is set for a long career at the top, yet she did not appear to enjoy her first stint as world number one.

The Japanese was overshadowed even as she made her major breakthrough at the US Open last year, her achievement secondary to an extraordinary outburst from her final opponent and idol Serena Williams.

Osaka triumphed again at the Australian Open in January, though, to become the WTA Tour's top-ranked player with just her third senior title.

But eight tournaments and eight disappointing early exits later, the 21-year-old enters Wimbledon at number two and, seemingly, much happier for it.

"Mentally, it was way more stress and pressure than I could have imagined," she said. "I don't think there was anything that could have prepared me for that, especially since I'm kind of an overthinker."

Ashleigh Barty now has that pressure and Osaka prefers the position of challenger in London, even if she is determined to wrestle back the number one spot.

"If you win the tournament, you're automatically number one," she added. "That, for sure, is a really big goal of mine. I don't have to think about defending the ranking or anything."

Next time - perhaps in just two weeks - Osaka might be prepared to defend top spot. As we examine, the first attempt represented a steep learning curve.



Osaka split with coach Sascha Bajin after her Australian Open success and then endured a miserable start to her reign as number one. "This was just one match," she said after losing to Mladenovic. "Even if I don't win any matches for the rest of the year, I wouldn't say I'm concerned."


Returning to the scene of her first WTA title, Osaka recovered some form at Indian Wells with new coach Jermaine Jenkins but was then thrashed by Bencic. The top seed insisted: "I tried my best and I don't really have any regrets."


A rollercoaster third-round match between Osaka and Hsieh, who had faced off in Melbourne, this time went the way of the underdog on another tough day for the number one.


An abdominal injury kept Osaka from playing her semi-final, but she offered a staunch defence of her form following a last-eight fightback against Donna Vekic. "I don't understand why people are saying I'm having a bad season if I won the Australian Open," she said. "I would be lying if I said it wasn't bothering me."


A second defeat of the season at the hands of Bencic came despite the struggling Osaka taking the first set and serving for the match in the third.


The Japanese ensured she would be top seed at the French Open with a run to the last eight in Rome, but her preparations for the grand slam were then hampered as she withdrew with a hand injury.


Osaka's hopes of a third straight major triumph were ended in an error-strewn 6-4 6-2 reverse. "I just feel like there has been a weight on me," she said. "I think me losing is probably the best thing that could have happened."


Under pressure from Roland Garros champion Barty in her final tournament before Wimbledon, Osaka crashed out in straight sets to Putintseva and lost her top ranking.

French Open champion Ashleigh Barty is three victories away from becoming the first Australian woman since 1976 to top the singles rankings.

The dynamic 23-year-old landed her first grand slam title at Roland Garros earlier this month, and world number one Naomi Osaka's early exit from the Birmingham Classic has opened the door for Barty to nudge above the Japanese player.

Osaka crashed out in the last 16 on Thursday when she lost 6-2 6-3 to Kazakhstan's world number 43 Yulia Putintseva, suffering a blow to her preparations for Wimbledon on the Edgbaston grass.

Second seed Barty sailed through to the quarter-finals as a 6-3 6-1 winner against American Jennifer Brady but must capture the title on Sunday to depose Osaka.

Evonne Goolagong Cawley was the first Australian to reach number one on the WTA list, taking top spot away from Chris Evert for a fortnight in 1976, just six months after the computerised ranking system was introduced to the tour.

Venus Williams is no stranger to the summit of the rankings and the 39-year-old American remains a force to be reckoned with, particularly on grass.

The five-time Wimbledon champion is making her debut at this tournament and set up a quarter-final against Barty by beating China's Qiang Wang 6-3 6-2.

Germany's Julia Goerges, the eighth seed and a Wimbledon semi-finalist last year, was a 6-4 6-3 winner against Russian Evgeniya Rodina.

French Open champion Ashleigh Barty can become world number one for the first time after rival Naomi Osaka suffered an early setback on grass.

The likelihood of Australian Barty jumping to the top spot grew on Thursday when WTA rankings leader Osaka was beaten in the last 16 of the Birmingham Classic.

Osaka slipped to a 6-2 6-3 defeat against Kazakhstan's world number 43 Yulia Putintseva, dealing a blow to her preparations for Wimbledon.

Second seed Barty went safely through to the quarter-finals as a 6-3 6-1 winner against American Jennifer Brady but must capture the title on Sunday to depose Osaka.

World number one Naomi Osaka required three sets to seal her place in the second round of the Birmingham Classic on a rain-hit day in Edgbaston.

The top seed edged past Greece's Maria Sakkari 6-1 4-6 6-3 to set a duel with Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva, who defeated British wildcard Harriet Dart.

"I feel, like, every day that I play on grass of course I'm going to learn how to play better, but for now I'm just really happy I was able to win that match," said Osaka.

"I think it's really important for me. I'm only playing this tournament before Wimbledon, so I would love to get a lot of matches in and sort of build my confidence up."

Osaka's rival for the number one ranking, Ashleigh Barty, was among a group of players including Venus Williams who saw their matches postponed until Wednesday.

There were wins for eighth seed Julia Goerges and 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, who now meets British number one Johanna Konta.

One other intriguing contest looks set to be that of the Pliskova twin sisters, Karolina and Kristyna, in what will be their ninth head-to-head.


Naomi Osaka hopes a sense of freedom will pay dividends as she gets her grass court season underway in the Birmingham Classic on Tuesday.

Reigning US Open and Australian Open champion Osaka faces the dangerous world number 33 Maria Sakkari in her opening match of the tournament.

The 21-year-old's quest for a third consecutive major ended in the third round at the French Open where she fell in straight sets to Katerina Siniakova, having come from a set down to overcome Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Victoria Azarenka in the earlier rounds at Roland Garros.

Nevertheless, Osaka is keen to take the positives from a clay campaign that saw her reach the quarter-finals in Madrid and Rome, with improving on her previous best of round three at Wimbledon something of a lower bar than she has been aiming for of late.

"It's the best clay court season I've ever had, if I take aside the disappointing French," Osaka told "But it's not like I lost in the first round and I kind of want to take that positively.

"I just want to enjoy myself. Maybe during the clay season I was thinking too much about my performance or results. Now I feel free.

"People are saying I could do really well here and that's sort of what I'm aiming for but I think I have to learn how to get comfortable [on grass].

"I don't think there's really a blueprint you can look at because not everyone's games or mentalities are the same.

"Playing at Wimbledon for me is definitely a memory because it's something you've watched on TV as a kid and when you go there it's just so full of tradition.

"I just remember losing to people who go to finals. Hopefully this time I'll be the person who goes to the finals."

Last year, Osaka lost to eventual winner Angelique Kerber at SW19, while Venus Williams beat her on the way to the final in 2017.

World number one Naomi Osaka and 23-time major winner Serena Williams were the big names to suffer elimination from the French Open on Saturday.

Osaka was beaten 6-4 6-2 by Katerina Siniakova as her quest to win a third grand slam in succession came to an end, while Williams fell to fellow American representative Sofia Kenin 6-2 7-5.

There were no such problems for reigning champion Simona Halep, who is the highest seed left in the draw after overcoming Lesia Tsurenko 6-2 6-1 in just 55 minutes.

Eighth seed Ashleigh Barty will face Kenin following a 6-3 6-1 triumph over Andrea Petkovic, and there were also straight-sets win for 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova and Aliona Bolsova, who will meet in round four after overcoming Irina-Camelia Begu 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 and Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-2 7-5 respectively.

Madison Keys overcame Anna Blinkova 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-4 to advance to a clash with Siniakova, and teenager Iga Swiatek recovered from being bagelled in her first set to win 0-6 6-3 6-3 and set up a match with Halep.



Osaka was guaranteed to hold on to her position at the top of the rankings after Karolina Pliskova exited at the hands of Petra Martic on Friday, but 24 hours later the Japanese was on her way out too.

The US Open and Australian Open champion had to come from behind to beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Victoria Azarenka in her opening two matches and she could not do it a third time.

Osaka suggested the pressure of entering Roland Garros as the world number one made it difficult for her to play with the same freedom.

"I think this tournament I have had a feeling that was different to the other grand slams that I have played, because usually I find it very freeing and fun, and this time around I was kind of tense the entire time," said Osaka.



Williams' hopes of emulating Margaret Court at Roland Garros by winning a 24th grand slam title were dashed by Kenin.

Kenin performed brilliantly to reach the last 16 of a major for the first time in her career, meaning Wimbledon is Williams' next chance of getting the record-equalling piece of silverware.

Having struggled with a left knee injury in recent months, Williams admitted she feels short of matches and is considering playing on grass in the lead-up to Wimbledon for the first time since featuring at Eastbourne in 2011.



Halep may have flown past Tsurenko but she suffered three breaks of serve in doing so. However, the reigning champion was not overly concerned and was pleased to get the job done so quickly.

"I was not worried, because losing my serve is happening often," Halep said with a smile. "I'm very confident on my return, so I didn't think something negative. I just looked forward for the next point.

"I expected a tough one, because I was always in trouble in the second set when I played against her.

"I think today was a better match. I played better. And I felt better on court."

Naomi Osaka's struggles early on at the French Open boosted Katerina Siniakova's confidence in being able to end the world number one's quest for a third straight major.

US Open and Australian Open champion Osaka had to come from a set down to beat Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and Victoria Azarenka in her opening two matches at Roland Garros.

The 21-year-old was unable to repeat the feat against Siniakova – the top-ranked doubles player – and fell to a 6-4 6-2 defeat on Court Suzanne-Lenglen on Saturday.

It was the Czech's first win against a top-three player but she felt Osaka, who admitted to feeling tense due to entering the tournament as world number one, was vulnerable before they stepped on court.

"I felt there was a chance, because her first and second round was tough, so I could see that she's not so confident like she was," said Siniakova.

"I just tried to focus on my game and be ready for a big fight. But I felt there was a chance.

"I can say she's more aggressive than me. It's her game. I was trying to chase every ball and make her miss if it's possible, just try to keep her behind the baseline and not feel confident.

"I think it was really good and it was working and I think her serve today wasn't so good."

A stressed Naomi Osaka conceded she crumbled under the weight of expectation at the French Open but claimed a third-round defeat to Katerina Siniakova was "the best thing that could've happened".

Osaka arrived at Roland Garros as world number one and the winner of the last two grand slams but departed seemingly a broken woman, with a stress-induced headache contributing to an error-strewn 6-4 6-2 defeat to the Czech.

Asked if nerves had played a part in a fairly miserable Paris experience, she said: "Yeah, I would say that, but at the same time I don't want to blame how I played on that.

"But, yeah, definitely I think this tournament I have had a feeling that was different to every other grand slam that I have played. I just feel like there has been a weight on me.

"Usually I find it very freeing and fun, and this time around I was kind of tense the entire time.

"Today I felt very tired. And the other matches too, I had this headache but I didn't feel tired.

"So I'm thinking the headache is just my stress. So it just kept staying because I don't really get sick like that."

Asked to expand on her emotions, the Japanese hinted at depression before backtracking. 

She added: "I don't want to say I feel depressed, but I do. I think it's a natural part of life, especially if you train super hard for moments like these, and then you don't perform how you want to.

"I feel like saying that 'I'm depressed' is a very strong statement because I felt that way before, and it's not as extreme as that. So I would just say I'm very disappointed in how I played, and I wish I could have done better."

Defeat ends the chances of the only player who could have completed a Grand Slam in 2019 but Osaka displayed a rare moment of positivity heading into the grass-court season.

"You know, it's weird, but I think me losing is probably the best thing that could have happened," she said.

"I think I was overthinking this calendar slam. For me this is something that I have wanted to do forever, but I think I have to think that [if] it was that easy, everyone would have done it.

"I just have to keep training hard and put myself in a position again to do it hopefully."

Naomi Osaka's bid to become the first woman to win their first three grand slams in succession was ended by Katerina Siniakova at the French Open on Saturday.

Japanese sensation Osaka rose to the top of the rankings after winning the US Open and Australian Open but her quest for glory at Roland Garros ended in a 6-4 6-2 loss on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.

It was the 21-year-old's first loss at a major since going down to Angelique Kerber in the third round of Wimbledon in 2018.

Osaka's run encompassed 16 grand slam matches, and we take a look at who she beat along the way.


US Open

bt Laura Siegemund 6-3 6-2
bt Julia Glushko 6-2 6-0
bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-0 6-0
bt Aryna Sabalenka [26] 6-3 2-6 6-4
bt Lesia Tsurenko 6-1 6-1
bt Madison Keys [14] 6-2 6-4
bt Serena Williams [17] 6-2 6-4

Australian Open

bt Magda Linette 6-4 6-2
bt Tamara Zidansek 6-2 6-4
bt Hsieh Su-wei [28] 5-7 6-4 6-1
bt Anastasija Sevastova [13] 4-6 6-3 6-4
bt Elina Svitolina [6] 6-4 6-1
bt Karolina Pliskova [7] 6-2 4-6 6-4
bt Petra Kvitova [8] 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-4

French Open

bt Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 0-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-1
bt Victoria Azarenka 4-6 7-5 6-3

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