“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.” After her outburst, Williams writes, she “couldn’t find peace.” She continues, “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.”
Williams said that eventually, she knew the only way for her to move forward was to apologize. She wrote to Osaka that she was “truly sorry” but said that she still “thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself.”
She wrote 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.”
Osaka’s response brought Williams to 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.”
During Williams and Osaka’s set, Williams was handed a code violation for receiving coaching from trainer Patrick Mouratoglou, who was in the stands. Williams became visibly upset about the violation and insisted her coach was simply giving her a thumbs up, telling chair umpire Carlos Ramos that she’d “never cheated in my life.”
Williams couldn’t shake the violation off. She went on to slam her racket after losing serve in the fifth game. This action prompted Ramos to issue Osaka the first point of the sixth game. Williams’ frustration grew; she subsequently called Ramos a “liar” and “thief.”
The match ultimately went to Osaka, who became the first Japanese woman to win a Grand Slam title. Williams was fined $17,000 for the three violations she incurred during the game.