Naomi Osaka hopes Serena Williams' legacy will live on through her, Cori Gauff

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Naomi Osaka hopes Serena Williams' legacy will live on through her, Cori Gauff

Naomi Osaka says Serena Williams may be retiring but her legacy will live on through other Black athletes that grew up watching and idolizing the American tennis great. Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, used to watch Williams on TV and believe that she could one day be a tennis superstar.

“I remember as a kid watching in awe, and I was so happy to be seeing a strong Black woman on my screen,” Osaka told TIME magatzine. “Even though she is retiring, her legacy definitely lives on through Coco [Gauff], Sloane [Stephens], Madison [Keys], and other women of color at the top of their game.

Serena is unequivocally the best athlete ever. Forget female athlete, I mean athlete. No one else has changed her sport as much as she did and against all odds”.

Osaka: Williams changed the game so much

During her pre-tournament press conferece at the US Open, Osaka described Williams as "the biggest force in the sport." Osaka, who is now a Grand Slam champion and has been the top-ranked player in the world, said she would not have been in this position if it weren't for Williams and her 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. Before the start of the US Open, Cori Gauff showed her respect and appreciation for Williams. Gauff said the reason why she picked up a racket and believed she could be great one day was because of Serena and Venus Williams. Williams has influenced the game in many ways and has left a major mark in tennis history.

Naomi Osaka Serena Williams Cori Gauff