The 15-year-old tennis star sat down with co-hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Carson Daly, Craig Melvin, and Dylan Dreyer, on Today Friday to discuss what was going through her head when Osaka approached her to join her winner’s interview.
“That moment with Naomi was so special and so unexpected,” began Guthrie. “I’m sure you felt like ‘What do I do, do I go out there?’ What was going through your mind at that moment?”
“I wanted to leave the court because I lost,” laughed Gauff. She continued, “And she was like ‘No, come with me’ and I was just shocked because no one ever does that.”
“Did you know her well before that?” asked Guthrie.
Gauff explained that while the athletes knew each other, they weren’t close at the time. “Obviously now we talk a lot more because of that moment,” she revealed.
“I couldn’t thank her enough and I was really shocked,” the athlete added. “It was an emotional moment — good and bad emotions.”
“She’s been so sweet to me so thank you for this, thank you,” Gauff said through tears during the post-match interview.
Osaka defeated Gauff 6-3, 6-0 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium during the third round of the U.S. Open, however, Gauff shared that she still has more matches coming up.
“I’m playing two tournaments in October and then just preseason training for 2020,” she told Today.
Osaka — who represents Japan — made headlines after defeating Serena Williams in last year’s contentious open final. She is currently ranked the world number four female player by the WTA.