Osaka, who was defending her U.S. Open title, embraced an emotional Gauff after defeating her in the third round of the tournament on Aug. 31. Osaka then invited the 15-year-old tennis star to join her for a tearful post-match interview.
During a Friday visit on the “Today” show, Gauff told the hosts that she was “shocked” at that moment, adding, “No one ever does that.”
“I couldn’t thank her enough,” Gauff said, noting that she was feeling a wide range of emotions at the time, first having lost the match and then getting support from Osaka.
Gauff made history earlier this year when she became the youngest tennis player in the Open era to qualify for Wimbledon’s main event. She then defeated five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the first round of the main event.
Last month, Gauff tweeted a picture of her meeting former first lady Michelle Obama, who autographed the tennis prodigy’s copy of Obama’s memoir “Becoming.”
“Today I got to meet my idol @MichelleObama,” Gauff wrote. “Her words and wisdom on my journey will stay with me on the court over the course of my career. She is a true inspiration. I have never arrived, I am always becoming! Thank you for your time.”