*Naomi Osaka won her semi-final match against Serena Williams 6-3, 6-4 at the Australian Open on Thursday, denying the tennis icon a chance for a 24th career Grand Slam singles title, a goal she’s been pursuing since 2018. (Watch highlights above.)
Following the loss, Williams and Osaka hugged at the net, COVID be damned. Before exiting the court, Williams addressed the crowd, holding her hand up and putting her hand on her heart in gratitude. The gesture had commentators and folks online speculating that the gesture was a final farewell to the sport, or at least the fans in Melbourne.
Asked during her post-match press conference about the meaning of her final wave to the crowd, Williams said, “I don’t know, the Aussie crowd was so amazing, it was nice to see.”
Regarding her future and whether a goodbye is imminent, she said, “I don’t know, if I ever say farewell I wouldn’t tell anyone so.”
As questions continued to come in, Williams appeared to grow more emotional. She eventually broke down and walked off in tears, telling the reporters, “I’m done.”
Williams also addressed the loss on Instagram, thanking everyone for their support. She wrote, “Melbourne and my Australian fans- Today was not ideal outcome or performance but it happens… I am so honored to be able to play in front of you all. Your support -your cheers, I only wish I could have done better for you today. I am forever in debt and grateful to each and everyone single one of you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I adore you.”
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Watch Osaka’s post-match press conference below: