Serena Williams reveals her message to Naomi Osaka after 2018 U.S. Open controversy

The final match of the 2018 U.S. Open, what should have been the best moment of Naomi Osaka's life, was marred by controversy. 

Osaka, 21, defeated tennis legend Serena Williams to win the iconic tournament last fall. However, it was Williams' reaction to certain penalties she received that garnered more attention than her opponent's first Grand Slam victory. 

Williams was emotional because she believed penalties being doled to her were sexist, and wouldn't have been given to a male player in her position. 

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After the drama subsided, the six-time U.S. Open champion reached out to Osaka to apologize, telling Harper's BAZAAR that the young star "deserved so much more in her special moment."

In the heartfelt message shared with Harper's BAZAAR, Williams apologized and repeatedly stated how proud she was of Osaka:

"Hey, Naomi! It’s Serena Williams. As I said on the court, I am so proud of you and I am truly sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself. But I had no idea the media would pit us against each other. I would love the chance to live that moment over again. I am, was, and will always be happy for you and supportive of you. I would never, ever want the light to shine away from another female, specifically another black female athlete. I can’t wait for your future, and believe me I will always be watching as a big fan! I wish you only success today and in the future. Once again, I am so proud of you. All my love and your fan, Serena."

Williams also revealed that she began therapy after the widely publicized controversy, stating that she was unable to "find peace" in its wake. 

Since the 2018 U.S. Open, Osaka went on to win the Australian Open in 2019 and was subsequently named the new world No. 1. She was knocked out of Wimbledon in the first round by Yulia Putintseva. 

Williams remains alive in Wimbledon after advancing to the women's semifinals with a win over fellow American Alison Riske.

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Serena Williams at Wimbledon 2019
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Serena Williams at Wimbledon 2019
United States' Serena Williams celebrates after winning a point against United States' Alison Riske during a women's quarterfinal match on day eight of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams returns to United States' Alison Riske in a Women's quarterfinal singles match on day eight of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
United States' Serena Williams falls attempting to return the ball to United States' Alison Riske during a women's quarterfinal match on day eight of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams celebrates after winning a point against United States' Alison Riske during a women's quarterfinal match on day eight of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams celebrates after winning a point against United States' Alison Riske during a women's quarterfinal match on day eight of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams reacts after winning a point against United States' Alison Riske in a Women's quarterfinal singles match on day eight of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
United States' Serena Williams waves after defeating Carla Suarez Navarro in a women's singles match during day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday, July 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams serves to Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro in a women's singles match during day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday, July 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
United States' Serena Williams and Britain's Andy Murray kiss after winning a mixed doubles match against Chile's Alexa Guarachi and Germany's Andreas Mies during day six of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Saturday, July 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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