The tennis great’s September freakout — which included branding chair umpire Carlos Ramos a “liar” and a “thief” and smashing her racket — overshadowed Osaka’s first Grand Slam title win against her idol and left the then-20-year-old in tears.
In Harper’s Bazaar’s August cover story, Williams, 37, pens an essay in which she has another go at saying sorry, while maintaining she was treated unfairly.
“This debacle ruined something that should have been amazing and historic,” Williams writes. “Not only was a game taken from me but a defining, triumphant moment was taken from another player.”
In the aftermath, “I couldn’t find peace,” Williams writes. “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.”
Eventually, Williams says she knew it was time to apologize.
She wrote to Osaka that she was “truly sorry” — but still said that she “thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself.”
Moments before the outburst, Williams had been hit with a code violation for receiving coaching from the stands from trainer Patrick Mouratoglou. She maintained that she’d “never cheated in my life” though Mouratoglou admitted he’d given her advice, but she may not have seen it.
Then, when Osaka broke Williams’ serve, Williams broke her racket in frustration. The pro-Williams crowd in Queens booed Osaka, who was so shaken, she later almost dropped her trophy.
Williams was fined $17,000 but felt she was treated harshly by the umpire because she is a woman.
She writes to Osaka: “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.”
Williams also shares a response from Osaka that left her in tears.
“People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can’t differentiate between the two,” Osaka wrote. “No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing.”