- Naomi Osaka made a young fan’s day by giving her a gift following her US Open victory.
- The 23-year-old presented the girl with an Olympic pin.
- “I thought it would be a nice little memory,” she said.
Naomi Osaka made a young fan’s day by giving her a gift following her first-round victory at the US Open.
Osaka, playing in her first Grand Slam since she withdrew from Roland-Garros for mental health reasons, swept aside Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-1 on Tuesday to book her place in the second round.
After her victory, the 23-year-old walked over to a girl in the crowd to present her with a gift, which she later revealed to be an Olympic pin.
Osaka said the pin was a thank you for the girl’s support throughout the match.
“I just heard her when I was playing my match and she was so cute, so thank you for cheering me on,” the Japanese star said to rapturous applause around the Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“In the Olympics, we got little pins that we were supposed to pass around to other players, you know like trading pins.
“And I wasn’t there for a long time so I have a couple in my bag that are leftover. I thought it would be a nice little memory.”
—ESPN (@espn) August 31, 2021
The girl watched Osaka’s match with her father, English music producer Tim Blacksmith.
Blacksmith, who has worked with Rihanna and Beyoncé among others, later thanked Osaka on Twitter for her gesture.
“Thank you so much for making my daughter’s first @usopen a truly memorable one,” he said. “Much love and blessing.”
—TIM BLACKSMITH (@TIMMYBLACKSMITH) August 31, 2021
Osaka was made to work during the first set against Bouzkova, saving three break points at 1-1 before eventually breaking the Czech to win in 10 games.
After finding her rhythm, the reigning US Open winner then raced away in the second to register a comfortable victory.
“It feels kind of crazy to play in front of everyone again,” she said in her on-court interview. “Last year when we didn’t have a crowd it felt quite lonely for me. The energy here is unmatched.
“I’ve played a lot of matches on this court, maybe the most in my career, and I definitely feel comfortable here.”