Naomi Osaka acknowledged Serena Williams had a great impact on the game and added she is now excited about seeing the American having success off-court as a businesswoman. Williams, 40, retired from tennis after this year's US Open.
In retirement, Williams plans to focus on family and business. "I don't think you can ever do that because everyone is unique, and we're all forging our own paths and we're all on our own journeys," Osaka said, per AFP.
"It's really incredible all the stuff she's done for this sport and beyond that. Just watching her as a businesswoman is really cool."
Osaka: I'm a product of Williams
Osaka, 24, has achieved the ultimate goal of every tennis player - to win a Grand Slam and to be ranked at the top sport.
"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. Interestingly, Osaka clinched her first WTA 1000 and Grand Slam titles after beating her idol Williams. In the 2018 Miami final, Osaka earned her first WTA 1000 title after beating Williams.
A few months later, Osaka became a Grand Slam champion after defeating Williams in the US Open final. Osaka then lost to Toronto in 2019, before beating the American en route to winning the 2020 Australian Open title. Whenever Osaka gets asked about Williams, she only has words of praise and respect for Williams.
The players from the Osaka generation drew inspiration for Williams and it was the American who made them believe that it was possible to make it in tennis.