• Naomi Osaka invited Coco Gauff to share her on-court interview following their match. (Getty Images, Twitter)
"We saw the best of sportsmanship from Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff. Such graciousness, class, and humility."
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

2 Sep 2019 - 8:56 AM  UPDATED 2 Sep 2019 - 8:56 AM

Tennis fans have taken to social media following a heartfelt moment between tennis champion Naomi Osaka and her 15-year-old opponent Coco Gauff.

After defeating Gauff in straight sets, Osaka, currently ranked No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association, invited the visibly emotional teenager to share her on-court interview - a gesture of good sportsmanship that won applause from the crowd.

"I just want to say, you guys raised an amazing player," Osaka said, searching the crowd for Gauff's parents.

"I remember I used to see you guys training in the same place as us, and, for me, the fact that both of us made it, and we're both still working as hard as we can, it's incredible."

She added: "I think you guys are amazing, and Coco, I think you're amazing."

Holding back tears, Gauff explained that she'd been approached by Osaka directly following the match, with Osaka telling her that it was okay to cry and inviting her to share the spotlight. Gauff initially declined the invitation, nervous that she wouldn't be able to stop crying.

But Osaka persisted, encouraging the young star to share in the moment.

"She did amazing, and I'm going to learn a lot from this match," a tearful Gauff explain on-camera with ESPN.

"She's been so sweet to me, so thank you for this. Thank you."

At a press conference later on, Osaka, 21, explained that the tender moment had been instinctual.

"It was kind of instinctive because when I shook her hand, I saw that she was kind of tearing up a little and it reminded me how young she was," she said, according to ESPN.

"For me, I just thought about what I wanted her to feel leaving the court. I wanted her to have her head high, not walk off the court sad. I want her to be aware that she's accomplished so much, and she's still so young."

Social media users applauded the moment of vulnerability and support.

"THIS EXCHANGE IS EVERYTHING," one user tweeted.

"Getting Coco Gauff to do the on court interview shows the class and grace of Naomi Osaka."

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