Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka described Serena WIlliams as "the biggest force in the sport." During pre-tournament press conference at the US Open, Osaka dropped a big claim about Williams and underlined that in no way she was throwing shade at Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
"I honestly think that she's, like, the biggest force in the sport," Osaka said, via Sportskeeda. "That's not intentionally trying to, like, make Federer or Nadal smaller. I just think she's the biggest thing that will ever be in the sport.
It's just really an honor just to watch her play. She's giving us a chance to, like, watch her more."
Osaka: What Williams has accomplished is tough to describe in words
Williams has done a lot for Black athletes and players like Osaka, Cori Gauff and Frances Tiafoe are often crediting Serena and Venus Williams for paving a way for them.
Last year, Williams even earned a praise from superstar gymnast Simone Bilas, who thanked her "for paving the way for Black athletes." Osaka, who is now the highest-paid female athlete, said she wouldn't be here if not for the Williams sisters and their influence.
"I think that her legacy is really wide to the point where you can't even describe it in words. Like, she changed the sport so much. She's introduced people that have never heard of tennis into the sport. I think I'm a product of what she's done.
I wouldn't be here without Serena, Venus, her whole family. I'm, like, very thankful to her," Osaka said. Even before Williams announced her plans to retire after the US Open, Osaka sensed it was coming. "Well, it was really weird, I watched her first match in Toronto before she announced it, for some reason I just started crying because I felt it," Osaka said. "I kind of felt like she was gearing up for her last US swing. I just started crying."