In an essay for August’s Harper’s Bazaar issue, the tennis pro revealed that she “couldn’t find peace” in the days that followed her headline-making outburst, where she when head-to-head with an umpire and was penalized for her actions. She admitted that she eventually began attending therapy to help her forge on.
“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 racket,” Williams, 37, wrote for the publication. “Finally I realized that there was only one way for me to move forward. It was time for me to apologize to the person who deserved it the most. I started to type, slowly at first, then faster as if the words were flowing out of me.”
Williams then shared how she wrote in her letter to Osaka, 21, that she would “love the chance to live that moment over again” and that she “will always be happy for you and supportive of you.” Osaka later replied to Williams’ note, which led the mother-of-one to experience “tears” that “rolled down my face.”
Osaka, for her part, praised Williams, saying, “No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing.”
In September 2018, Williams received three violations during the second set of the game she lost to Osaka. She then had an altercation with an umpire, whom she called him “a thief” and further accused him of sexism. She also broke her racket in the heat of her frustration.
Osaka won the September match, which boasted a final score of 6-2, 6-4. Williams, meanwhile, was slapped with a $17,000 fine.
At the time, The New York Times reported about Williams’ continued making accusations regarding what she called unfair, biased treatment. “There are men out here that do a lot worse,” she said. “But because I’m a woman, because I’m a woman you’re going to take this away from me?”
After Williams accused the U.S. Open of sexism, she received support from many well-known male tennis players. James Blake tweeted that he has “said worse and not gotten penalized,” noting further how he has even “been given a ‘soft warning’ by an ump.” Andy Roddick also admitted on Twitter that he has “regrettably said worse and I’ve never gotten a game penalty.”
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