The tennis great has reflected on her infamous 2018 US Open final outburst in a candid first-person article.
Tennis great Serena Williams has revealed that she needed "therapy" after last year's US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka, where she was involved in a much-criticised altercation with the umpire.
Williams challenged Carlos Ramos and branded him a "thief" after the Portuguese official took away a game from the 23-time major winner for a series of conduct violations including on-court coaching.
Osaka went on to win her first grand slam title with a 6-2 6-4 win and Williams refused to shake Ramos' hand afterwards.
"I started seeing a therapist. I was searching for answers, and although I felt like I was making progress, I still wasn't ready to pick up a racquet," Williams wrote in a first-person article published by Harper's Bazaar.
"Why is it that when women get passionate, they're labelled 'emotional, crazy, and irrational'," the 37-year-old US athlete added.
"But when men do they're seen as passionate and strong?"
Osaka, who was then just 20-years-old in her first major final at the US Open, was crying upon receiving the trophy as a chorus of boo's echoed around Flushing Meadows.
Williams said she has since apologised to the Japanese former world No.1 for ruining her moment and was emotionally overwhelmed by Osaka's reply.
"Not only was a game taken from me but a defining, triumphant moment was taken from another player, something she should remember as one of the happiest memories in her long and successful career," she said.
"I realised that there was only one way for me to move forward. It was time for me to apologise to the person who deserved it the most."
Williams included her written apology to Osaka in the article, which said she was "truly sorry" and "had no idea the media would pit us against each other".
"I would never, ever want the light to shine away from another female, specifically another black female athlete," the apology read.
Williams said that when Osaka's response came, which urged Williams to keep fighting for what she believes in, tears rolled down her face.
"People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can't differentiate between the two," Osaka said.
"No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing."
Williams finished the candid essay by taking aim, once again, at the treatment of female athletes, including unequal pay, body shaming and being penalised for "grunting too loudly".
"This incident - though excruciating for us to endure - exemplified how thousands of women in every area of the workforce are treated every day," she said.
"We are told to sit down and be quiet, which frankly is just not something I’m okay with."