Gauff, 15, and Osaka, 22, will play each other in the third round of the women’s singles competition at the Australian Open around 3 a.m. EST on Friday.
Osaka memorably embraced an emotional Gauff after defeating her in the third round of the U.S. Open in Queens, New York, on Aug. 31. Osaka, who was defending her title, invited Gauff to join her in the post-match interview.
Fighting to hold back tears at the time, Gauff told ESPN that it was “amazing” to play Osaka, who has “been so sweet to me.”
“Once again, thank you, Naomi. I don’t want people to think that I’m trying to take this moment away from her, because she really deserves it,” Gauff continued. “So thank you.”
Osaka responded by celebrating the fact that both she and Gauff had “made it,” adding that the teenager player was “amazing.”
The moment was widely celebrated, with many people on social media cheering on the display of sisterhood and solidarity between two Black tennis players.
Gauff, who made history last year when she became the youngest tennis player in the Open era to qualify for Wimbledon’s main event, told The New York Times that she thinks she’ll be “less nervous” playing Osaka this time around.
“I think U.S. Open, I was nervous,” she said in the article published Thursday. “It was my first time on Ashe [Arthur Ashe Stadium]. We’re both familiar with each other’s games. She plays really aggressive. This time coming in, I’m going to be more aggressive.”
In Melbourne, Osaka will again be defending her title.
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