Naomi Osaka gifted an Olympic memento to a young fan at the US Open in a heart-warming moment.
The defending US Open champion walked over to the youngster following her first round win over Marie Bouzkova and handed the fan something.
And speaking in her on-court interview immediately afterwards, Osaka explained what it was.
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“I heard her when I was playing my match and she was so cute, so thank you for cheering me on,” Osaka said.
“In the Olympics we got little pins that we were supposed to pass around to other players, like trading pins, and I wasn’t there for a long time so I still have a couple in my bag left over.
“I thought it would be a nice little memory.”
The four-time Grand Slam champion lit the torch at the Tokyo Games earlier this summer but was knocked out of the women’s singles tournament in the third round.
Naomi Osaka (US Open 2021)
Image credit: Getty Images
The defending US Open champion entered her latest tournament following a tumultuous summer that saw her withdraw from the French Open and miss Wimbledon on mental health grounds prior to the Olympic disappointment.
Yet the 23-year-old looked back to her best with a crushing performance in her opening match, saving three break points early in the first set before running away with a 6-4 6-1 win against Bouzkova.
"It feels kind of crazy to play in front of everyone again," Osaka said during her on-court interview immediately after the win.
"Last year when we didn't have a crowd it felt quite lonely for me. The energy here is unmatched.
"I've played a lot of matches on this court, maybe the most in my career and I definitely feel comfortable here."
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