“A Class Act”

In the U.S. Open last week, the #1 ranked women’s tennis player in the world, Naomi Osaka, beat the 15-year-old upstart player, Coco Gauf. This was Coco’s first time in the U.S. Open. She played well, but came up short. Wanting to honor her opponents effort and talent, Naomi asked Coco to share the limelight with her in the post-match interview. Naomi wanted to be a mentor and help Coco through this tough loss. Coco initially declined, fearing that she would cry all the way through the interview. Naomi insisted. The following is what the scene looked like:

Joe’s Perspective: As the announcer said, “Naomi, you are a class act.” Naomi instinctively knew this was a devastating loss for such a young player. She wanted to help her through this moment. She showed empathy and compassion. If you want to know what winning with class looks like, look no further. This is it. If you want to know what mentoring looks like, look no further. This is it.

Your Turn: After watching this video, what do you think of Naomi’s actions?

Comments 158

  1. I feel like this is so heart-warming to see. Naomi helping CoCo when she’s upset just like Serena did for her is just so heart-warming.

    1. As someone who used to play tennis(but switched to volleyball), this especially touched my heart. Learning not to be a “sore winner” is just as important as learning not to be a sore loser. Naomi learned to be gracious from her experience with serena Williams and passed on that kindness.

  2. I think Naomi acted appropriately. She had been in the position that coco was in before, and she knew how it felt. When she reached out she started a train reaction where now if coco gets older, then she can reach out to younger players.

      1. She did something that I think all players should do. She was supportive and helped put a fellow player when she saw she was down. She helped her through a tough time which I hope anyone would do for me and I will try to do for others.

        1. I think it was very motivating what Naomi did. She helped a young player through a tough time and helped her when she was down. It’s good to see that there are still people in the world like this because a lot of people would only focus on themselves.

    1. I think Naomi did the right thing because loosing or winning the #1 spot is a big deal. It’s especially hard when you’re only 15. Coco saw that she could help Naomi a little.

    2. I think Naomi acted the correct way by showing support to Coco. She knew what it was like to play like Coco, so there was no need for her to make fun of her loosing. She acted correctly in this situation.

  3. I think Naomi acted really maturely about the situation. She thought about coco’s feelings and wanted to make her feel like she wasn’t a failure. She had been where coco was and knew how it felt.

  4. Naomi did a really good job in helping Coco learn and grow as a player and a person. I thought that it was pretty significant that in a moment that was supposed to be about her win and her success she immediately thought of someone else (Coco), and how she could make her life better. Naomi was selfless and acted in a way to help Coco deal with her first big public loss.

  5. I think that Naomi handled the situation really well, and I admired that she included Coco in her interview even though she was so young and she lost the match. I think Naomi was really kind and humble during the interview and Coco was really grateful to her and I think she really learned from the match and from Naomi’s kindness after the game.

  6. Naomi’s action showed what it meant to be a good person. She knew that Coco was struggling after the match and that it was a tough loss for her. Instead of celebrating her victory, she was there for Coco, helping her through the tough loss and showing Coco that she is supporting her and her career.

  7. I think that Naomi’s actions were really selfless and that she helped coco to realize that it is ok to be emotional about something that you feel strongly about. Because she shared her fame with coco it reflects really strongly about her and her character which makes me and other people admire her and her actions.

  8. I think Naomi actions were incredible, especially being the defending champ. She was very respectful to Coco and had much compassion and sympathy.

  9. I think that Naomi showed true sportsmanship. Even if she didn’t think she was being a mentor, her example will continue to be used as one to show respectfulness and loyalty. Also, by adding her own personal experience, I think Naomi made Coco feel a lot better about her loss because it was relatable for both of them.

  10. I think her actions really showed her character as a player and a person. I applaud her sportsmanship, and I will continue watching her play in the future.

  11. I think she did a pretty good job in the situation because she’s been in a position like that before and she just wanted to help and not make her feel bad.

  12. I think Naomi’s actions were inspiring. To know what Coco was going through, and offering to help her trough it, it was really big of Naomi.

  13. I believe that Naomi acted with true leadership because she won and instead of boasting about her accomplishment she helped and supported her opponent after the match. If only we could all do the same thing when we win why bring others down about their performance when you can help them learn from it.

  14. I believe both Naomi and Cocos actions are admirable in this situation. I think it would have been challenging for Coco to be so friendly to Naomi since she had just lost. Naomi set that friendly competition though. Since Coco is younger I think she followed in the footsteps on Naomi. This situation illustrates how underclassmen look up to the upperclassmen even when we are unaware that they are observing us. I admire Naomi’s ability to share the spotlight after her victory. By doing this I assume she grew Cocos confidence.

  15. I think that Naomi showed great kindness. With no for herself, she allowed a 15 year old to share her spotlight after she had crushed her underfoot. I hope that I can be as selfless in the future.

  16. I believe Naomi’s actions were very courteous and consoled a very heartbroken and battered opponent. Had Naomi not said anything, she would have lost the support of the crowd due to gauff’s popularity, but she choose to be kind and comfort her defeated opponent.

  17. I think Naomi really did it out of heart and it was a mature thing of her to do. She knew this was a tough loss for Coco and she also knew how it felt because she had been in her position before. I think it really shows great sportsmanship and shows maybe Coco will take from this and later on in her career do what Naomi did for her with another young player.

  18. I think Naomi really did it out of heart and it was a mature thing of her to do. She knew this was a tough loss for Coco and she also knew how it felt because she had been in her position before. I think it really shows great sportsmanship and maybe Coco will take from this and later on in her career do what Naomi did for her with another young player.

  19. I think Naomi’s actions were very kind and respectful. She understood how hard it was for Coco to lose and wanted to make her feel better. Naomi also helped show Coco how to be a leader, not rubbing a win into the opponents face.

  20. I think what Naomi did was amazing. She used this opportunity to help someone younger than her and do good for someone that needed the help. She finished the match with humility and saw how Coco was really struggling and brought light to Coco eyes.

  21. I think that Naomi’s actions were very mature and showed a good example for Coco. Naomi wanted to let Coco know that even though she did not win she did succeed and played amazing.

  22. I thought that Naomi’s reaction was very nice and thoughtful because Coco was going through a tough loss and she probably would have wanted that for herself when she was in that place earlier in her career

  23. I think Naomi did this out of love for the sport. She cared about coco and how much she loves the sport in every way. Coco is only 15 who competed against one of the best players in the world which was very courageous of her. Naomi was showing great sportsmanship.

  24. I think she’s very sweet and when I think class act I think team player and she was just being really nice I think she was being a good person

  25. I think Naomi’s actions are extremely respectful and caring. She showed her true, courageous, character. I would bet that many athletes in her position would not act the same.

  26. I think Naomi is a great example of sportsmanship and humility. Even when she won, she invited her opponent to talk about the match which shows amiability and a lot of .

  27. I think Naomi ’s action showed her sportsmanship because she respected Coco, even though Coco lost. She also invited the younger athlete to the post-game interview to help her through the loss. This shows her compassion and understanding considering that Naomi had also been in Coco ’s position.

  28. I think that Naomi showed true sportsmanship as well. By no means did she have to do that for Coco, but she did because she had been in that same exact position before and she knows what it will take for Coco to learn and come back from that loss. I think she showed true kindness and exemplifies a great athlete and leader.

  29. I think she showed very good sportsmanship qualities. It takes a lot of heart to react the way she did in that situation. She is a good team player!

  30. When I was watching this live with my mom it brought me to tears. Naomi’s actions were very comforting towards Coco and she was acting as a big sister and knew how she felt because she has been in this situation before. Since Coco is only 15, she has a lot of growing and work to do to get where she wants to get. Both the girls are amazing, humble athletes that are already becoming icons.

  31. I think the way she acted was very appropriate and made coco feel great even after a loss. it was a great example of good sportsmanship.

  32. I think that was a smart decision by Naomi because she knew what it felt like to be in that position and now she’s trying to help a starting player

  33. I think that Naomi’s action was done because she was humble. It showed that she understood what Coco was experiencing and that she wanted to help her out.

  34. It was awesome inspiring and emotional because this was Coco’s first time in the US Open and coming up short was probably devastating for her. But when Naomi Osaka asked her if she can join the post game interview with her, that was inspiring.

  35. Naomi was a good sport. She cared enough about coco to do it for her and the sport. I do think it made coco feel bad about losing.

  36. Naomi and Coco both handled the situation well. They both respected each other and especially after coco had a tough loss, Naomi still recognized her and admires her. I loved when Naomi acknowledged coco’s parents and told them what a great daughter they had raised. Naomi shares how she had been in a similar spot as Coco and is sympathetic to her. I think both Naomi and Coco learned a lot from this and both grew as players.

  37. I think Naomi did a great thing by supporting Coco through this situation. Naomi has been through the same thing before, so by being there for Coco probably meant a lot to her.

  38. what Naomi did for Coco was a very inspirational thing for her to do because she has been in this position before. These actions can show us that we can also do that in our sport.

  39. I think that Naomi’s actions were out of her heart. She didn’t have to invite Coco to do the interview with her, but she did it because she wanted to make Coco feel better since she lost. Her interview was super nice because she spent the time congratulating Coco instead of just talking about herself. Overall, Naomi’s actions were super nice and helped Coco get back up on her feet.

  40. I think that both players were very respectful and that their actions can be admired, and can teach us lessons. Naomi shows amazing sportsmanship as well as helping Coco grow as a player.

  41. i think naomi’s actions were such a powerful gesture to what good sportsmanship should look like even in a victory you need to be respectful and kind to your opponent.

  42. i think that naomi was a really positive role model in Coco’s life and did not just make the moment about herself. She was the bigger person and thought about Cocos feelings and was so kind to her.

  43. She handled herself in a very sportsmanlike manner and showed what it was like to help one another even if you are playing against each other

  44. I think it’s very nice of her to help her through this loss because she may have been in the same position before and knows how it feels

  45. Naomi handled this situation more than well. Her doing this and focusing more on Coco than herself really shows that she is a team player. It shows how much respect she has for Coco and it was a very nice thing to do.

  46. I think that Naomi handled herself very maturely and knew what it was like to lose in such an important match. She wanted to make her feel good after the loss and i think that is very inspirational.

  47. I believe that she did the right thing, in allowing Coco to join her. If she hadn’t done that, Coco might have been discouraged from future attempts at playing major matches.

  48. I think that Naomi was brave and very selfless to allow Coco to share such an important moment with her. I think this moment is going to effect the rest of coco’s life, and hopefully it will help coco to be a future mentor to other young girls.

  49. Naomi showed what it means to be a true athlete and have good sportsmanship. She must’ve known how Coco was feeling. Everybody has lost important games, and the feeling can be crushing. Naomi’s actions towards Coco are respectful and important, and prove that your competition doesn’t have to be your enemy.

  50. Naomi was so kind throughout the whole thing and she was very supportive as well. She could relate to Coco and it helped her give advice.

  51. Naomi acted like a champion. It takes a lot of courage to take such a huge win and give part of it up to help another athlete improve their game. She also mentioned how focused she was during the game. I think this helped her tremendously to pull out a win against such a skilled athlete like Coco.

  52. Naomi’s actions showed how mature Coco is to the world. A 15 year old taking on the world number 1, loosing, but still standing strong in a floor interview. This showed how strong both players were and how humble they are too

  53. I think Naomi did a selfless thing. Even though Naomi won, she wanted Coco to know that how well she thought she played. Naomi was in the same position as Coco was at one point and she knew what that felt like.

  54. Naomi knew what being in a pressuring start was like so she would like to help others accomplish their dreams and get through tough times

  55. I think she reacted in a very positive way. She had been in that position before and knew how it felt so she helped her get through it. She used good sportsmanship to accomplish her task.

  56. I think she reacted in a very positive way. She had been in that position before and knew how it felt so she helped her get through it. She used good sportsmanship to accomplish her task.

  57. I think that Naomi was being very respectful. She’s recognizing that Coco was a good opponent and have her credit for that. Naomi made sure that Coco didn’t fall into a hole of loss, and that’s pretty cool.

  58. I think she did an amazing job handling the situation and asking CoCo to do that encore interview. Even though she didn’t want to do it at first, you could still see how much it meant to her.

  59. I think the way Naomi acted towards Coco was mature instead of leaving the situation alone she helped her through it and told the interviewer that she went through the same thing when she was 15, and even when Naomi cried because she was so proud of her that tells you that she really does care.

  60. Naomi was selfless and respectful towards her opponent. She knew what Cocoa was going through and wanted to help her through that hard time.

  61. I think Naomi’s actions were very selfless and kind because she knew that her opponent wanted to win badly and knew that her opponent was great at what she did. Her actions showed that she has great sportsmanship and respects her opponents.

  62. I thought it was very inspiring that Naomi, even though she knew the energy In the stands was not for her, was able to appreciate and feed off that energy.

  63. I think Naomi acted like a great sport and better person. She knew the loss was devastating for Coco, but Naomi changed the moment for coco and she will forever remember it as one of her greatest accomplishments

  64. I think that Naomi is one influential person who did a great thing by inviting coco to the interview. She really showed respect for her opponent

  65. I think Naomi did the right thing as a mentor because even though she won she realized what spot this girl was in and how it affected her. She wanted her to realize that it’s ok and help her recover her confidence instead of tearing her down after the match.

  66. Naomi’s actions take a lot of maturity that lots of people do not have at her age (I think she’s in her 20’s) she probably relates to Coco as Naomi probably lost to a tougher opponent when she was young and it was hard on her. She probably sees a lot of herself in Coco

  67. It’s a really amazing thing to see two uber talented young women support one another. Naomi has been in Coco’s shoes before so she both empathizes and respects her opponent which sets the best example for players everywhere.

  68. I feel like Naomi acted like a real supporter and role model, as she should in this situation because she knows what Coco has been through.

  69. I think Naomi really stepped up and became that leader and role model that Coco needs. Even though Naomi won she still felt that Coco deserved to be right by her side which really showed the passionate side of her.

  70. I think that Naomi showed great sportsmanship in this moment. She knew what it was like to be in Coco’s shoes with her being so young and having that much talent. And now that Coco has seen Naomi set such a good example to her now Coco may be the one giving advice and motivating the next young star one day.

  71. Naomi shows what it is like to be selfless in a situation that it is very easy to be selfish. She shows what it’s like to be a true class act

  72. I think that with the support of more experienced players acting as a mentor that she will definitely improve and become more confident.

  73. I think Naomi did the right thing because loosing or winning the number 1 spot is a big deal. It shows that she knows how to act.

  74. I think she did good because she was in the position before and want to help her feel good about her self and feel good about the other girl too.

  75. Naomi was very caring and made sure Coco was okay. She also wanted to show off cocos good playing and made her do the interview with her.

  76. I think the way Naomi handled the situation shows a certain level of maturity and respect that all athletes should learn to have. After such a devastating loss for Coco, Naomi wanted to help Coco get through it because she was once in that same spot too. Naomi’s compassion, humbleness, and empathy towards Coco inspires me to do the same and to not always focus on myself.

  77. This is such a positive story that shows athletes what real support looks like. I love the willingness to be open and kind towards others.

  78. I see Naomi’s actions as almost a perfect example of competition. Her actions show even after an intense competition opponents don’t need to continue to be against each other’s success.

  79. I think Naomi did the right thing. She saw what the match and sport was to Coco and tried to help her as much as she could. She also gave Coco a very unique experience and showed her that there was more to sports than winning.

  80. Naomi’s response to beating the 15 year old showed good sportsmanship. She could have gloated about winning but instead she decided to use this as an opportunity to mentor Coco.

  81. Naomi’s actions were very selfless letting coco go and do the interview and encouraging her too was amazing. I think everyone should learn from that.

  82. Naomi showed amazing sportsmanship. She was helpful, encouraging, kind, supportive. She did what she would’ve wanted to happen for her. Naomi displayed how every athlete should be especially older players to younger players.

  83. Naomi is the definition of good sportsmanship and a great teammate/opponent, she encouraged Coco to reach the goal that she wants to reach: Becoming the best Tennis player, and Coco does have quite a while because she’s only 15!

  84. i thought it was very sweet of Naomi to be kind to Coco and help her through that because she was caring.Even though they were playing against eachother she still made coco feel happy. Because Naomi remembered how she felt when she was the young tennis player.

  85. I think it was great that Naomi has the great sportsmanship to be kind to coco and encourage her and invite her to part of the interview after the match. She remembered how she had felt earlier and life and used it for good.

  86. This is a perfect example of good sportsmanship. Typically when we loose to an opponent, we hate them or don’t want to associate with them, and the winners think less of them. But here, she embraced the person she beat and that’s perfect sportsmanship and humility.

  87. I enjoyed what Naomi did because although they we’re competing, she didn’t want to let her competitiveness get in the way. It was very heartwarming.

  88. i loved how she showed good sportsmanship no matter what and she didn’t let the fact that they were opponents affect the fact that she wanted to help someone she saw was upset

  89. I think it is such a good thing to see because Naomi is doing the same thing to cocoa that Serena did for her. I think this is so nice to see and such a good thing to hear about.

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