Naomi Osaka's awkward boyfriend moment after US Open triumph

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Naomi Osaka, pictured here with her team and boyfriend Cordae after her win in the US Open final.
Naomi Osaka with her team and boyfriend Cordae. Image: ESPN

Cordae, the rapper boyfriend of US Open champion Naomi Osaka, has been drawing lots of attention in New York over the last two weeks.

Not just because of a number of political statements he and Osaka have made, but also because fans are very interested in the Japanese tennis star’s love life.

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But Cordae saved his best work for the final on Saturday after Osaka beat Victoria Azarenka in a thrilling three-setter.

Video of the rapper went viral when he was caught in a very awkward moment during the post-game celebrations.

As Osaka posed for photos with her coach and support staff, Cordae looked very unsure about whether he belonged in the photo.

The rapper could be seen second-guessing his decision to join the photo before being pulled in by Osaka’s coach Wim Fissette.

He also looked as though he was considering taking a knee before deciding against it, and he was very unsure what to do with his hands as he posed for the happy snaps.

Wearing a T-shirt sporting the slogan “defund the police”, Cordae was pumped when Osaka secured her second US Open title.

It continued a trend for Cordae and Osaka throughout the whole tournament, with the tennis star walking onto the court wearing a black mask with the name of Tamir Rice - a Black 12-year-old boy killed by police in Ohio in 2014.

She arrived in New York with seven masks bearing the names of Black victims of violence and wore a different one for each match, honouring Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Philando Castile.

She has been at the forefront of efforts in tennis to bring awareness to racial injustice in the United States.

Osaka and her coach have said they think the off-court activism has helped her energy and mindset in matches.

Cordae, pictured here watching the US Open final between Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka.
Cordae looks on during the US Open final between Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka makes history with comeback win

Surprisingly off-kilter in the early going on Saturday, Osaka kept missing shots and digging herself a deficit.

Until, suddenly, she lifted her game, and Azarenka couldn't sustain her start.

By the end, Osaka pulled away to a 1-6 6-3 6-3 comeback victory for her second US Open championship and third grand slam title overall.

A quarter-century had passed since the last time the woman who lost the first set of a US Open final wound up winning: In 1994, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario did it against Steffi Graf.

This one was a back-and-forth affair. Even after Osaka surged ahead 4-1 in the third set, the outcome was unclear. She held four break points in the next game - convert any of those, and she would have served for the win at 5-1 - but Azarenka didn't flinch.

Azarenka held there, somehow, and broke to get to 4-3, then stood and stretched during the ensuing changeover.

Naomi Osaka, pictured here with her team and boyfriend after winning the US Open.
Naomi Osaka holds the trophy and celebrates with her team after winning the US Open. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

But Osaka regained control, breaking to start a match-ending run of three games, covering her face when the final was over.

“Firstly I want to congratulate Vika,” said Osaka. “I actually don't want to play you in more finals because I didn't really enjoy that, that was a really tough match for me.”

Asked how she turned the match around, the 22-year-old added: “I just thought it would be very embarrassing to lose in under an hour so I just have to try and stop having a really bad attitude.”

Also the runner-up in 2012 and 2013, Azarenka said: “I thought the third time was a charm but I guess I'll have to try again. Congratulations to Naomi, it's been an incredible two weeks for you. I hope we can meet in some more finals again.

“I want to thank my team for sticking with me and believing in me. We're going to have some more fun over the next few weeks. It's been a long road getting here but this was fun.”

Osaka, a 22-year-old born in Japan and now based in the United States, added to her trophies from the 2018 US Open - earned with a brilliant performance in a memorably chaotic final against Serena Williams - and 2019 Australian Open.

with AAP