The 21-year-old Osaka routed the 15-year-old Gauff in the third round of the tournament 6-3, 6-0.
Afterward, Osaka — who’s ranked the No. 1 player in the world — approached the teen and invited her to join her for a post-match interview. She offered some kind words to her as well.
“Do you want to do the interview with me?” Osaka asked Gauff. “These people are here for you.”
“I’m gonna cry,” Gauff told her.
“No, you’re good,” Osaka replied. “Look, you’re amazing. Seriously.”
Again, Gauff said she was going to cry, but the Japanese-born tennis star encouraged her to come for the interview anyway. “No, I think it’s better than going into the shower and crying,” Osaka told her. “We have to let these people know how you feel.”
The two ladies then walked off together and spoke to ESPN, where Gauff thanked Osaka.
“I’m going to learn a lot from this match,” Gauff said in tears. “She’s been so sweet to me, so thank you for this. … I don’t want people to think that I’m trying to take this moment away from her, because she really deserves it.”
Osaka hugged Gauff after that and was asked what it was like to mentor the young tennis pro.
“I don’t think I’m a mentor,” Osaka answered.
From there, she turned to Gauff’s parents, Corey and Candi Gauff, who were in the stands, and praised how they raised their daughter. Both Osaka and Gauff live in Florida and have trained at the same places.
“You guys raised an amazing player,” Osaka told them while shedding tears. “I remember I used to see you guys training in the same place as us. For me, like the fact that both of us made it, and we’re both still working as hard as we can, I think it’s incredible. I think you guys are amazing. I think Coco, you’re amazing.”
The exchange between the two players went viral and many said how touched they were.
“I love this! It doesn’t take much but this sort of thing makes sport moments amazing!” someone wrote on Instagram.
“Truly beautiful,” wrote another.
“We have much to learn from these women, who compete like demons and still can be so generous in victory, and so noble in defeat. Honor to you both,” a third person commented.
On Monday Osaka lost in the fourth round to No. 13th ranked Belinda Bencic of Switzerland, 7-5, 6-4 and wasn’t able to defend her US Open title.