Top Stories

Serena Williams Poses in Unretouched Photo Shoot & Reveals Her Apology Message to Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams Poses in Unretouched Photo Shoot & Reveals Her Apology Message to Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams is on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar‘s August 2019 issue, out on newsstands on July 23.

Here’s what the 37-year-old tennis star had to say…

On her actions at the 2018 US Open against Naomi Osaka: “I started to think again, ‘What could I have done better? Was I wrong to stand up? Why is it that when women get passionate, they’re labeled emotional, crazy, and irrational, but when men do they’re seen as passionate and strong?’”

On her apology to Naomi: “Days passed, and I still couldn’t find peace. 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. 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. ‘Hey, Naomi! It’s Serena Williams. As I said on the court, I am so proud of you and I am truly sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself. But 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 from another female, specifically another black female athlete. I can’t wait for your future, and believe me I will always be watching as a big fan! I wish you only success today and in the future. Once again, I am so proud of you. All my love and your fan, Serena.”

On receiving Naomi’s response to her apology: “When Naomi’s response came through, tears rolled down my face. ‘People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can’t differentiate between the two,’ she said graciously. ‘No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing.’ It was in this moment that I realized the real reason the US Open was so hard for me to get over: It wasn’t because of the backlash I faced but rather because of what had happened to the young woman who deserved so much more in her special moment. I had felt that it was my fault and that I should have kept my mouth closed. But now, seeing her text putting everything in perspective, I realized she was right.”

For more from Serena, head to HarpersBazaar.com.

Just Jared on Facebook
serena williams harpers bazaar august 2019 01
serena williams harpers bazaar august 2019 02
serena williams harpers bazaar august 2019 03

Credit: Alexi Lubomirski; Photos: Harper's Bazaar
Posted to: Serena Williams

JJ Links Around The Web

Getty Images
  • Lori Loughlin & Mossimo Giannulli downsize to $9.5 million home - see inside - TMZ
  • Watch the trailer for the Saved by the Bell reboot - Just Jared Jr
  • Alyssa Milano says her hair is falling out because of COVID-19 - TooFab
  • Camila Cabello is working hard on new music - Just Jared Jr