US Davis Cup players try to stay out of Williams controversy

Serena Williams looks at her box during the women's final of the U.S. Open tennis tournament against Naomi Osaka of Japan Saturday Sept. 8 2018 in New York

US Davis Cup players try to stay out of Williams controversy

US Open women's champion Naomi Osaka has revealed that Serena Williams told her she was proud of her before reassuring her that fans weren't booing her after their controversial final at Flushing Meadows.

On the other side of the net, though, the 20-year-old Osaka kept her cool in her first Grand Slam final to win 6-2 6-4.

Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and Haitian-American father and raised mainly in the United States, Osaka has won hearts on and off the tennis court as much for her ferocious serve as her down-to-earth humility.

But it seems as she had been preparing for the moment for a long time.

Then again, Steve Johnson, Mike Bryan and Ryan Harrison are trying their best to stay out of the debate since Carlos Ramos, the chair umpire who penalized Williams, is also handling their best-of-five semifinal series against Croatia this weekend.

"Growing up, my dad drove a Nissan, so being able to be a brand ambassador now, it feels like I've come (full circle)", Osaka said at a contract signing event at Nissan's headquarters in Yokohama.

With the new deal, reports suggest Osaka could climb the Forbes ladder to become the second-highest paid player of 2018, ahead of Caroline Wozniacki but just behind Williams, but she will have to go some way to matching the all-time tennis great.

"I think for this year my immediate goal would be to get to Singapore", said Osaka after putting herself firmly in contention to reach the season-ending WTA Finals. "For now I'm just sort of riding the wave".

"It's every athlete's dream to play in the Olympics, so of course it would be my goal to win gold".

Mouratoglou admitted afterwards that he had tried to coach Williams, who said she never saw the Frenchman's gestures.

"I've always thought Kei (Nishikori) was a super good role model and hopefully I can be that too", she said.

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