“I didn’t text him that ’cause I didn’t wanna feel like a loser, and now I’ll never have the chance to talk to him again,” Naomi Osaka said of not reaching out to Kobe Bryant. Naomi Osaka is opening up about her close bond with her late friend and mentor Kobe Bryant.
In the second episode of her Netflix documentary Naomi Osaka, which documents her life for two years after her 2018 U.S. Open victory over Serena Williams, the tennis star shares a candid moment during her grieving process following the news of the NBA icon’s death.
In a selfie video recorded on Jan. 27, 2020, one day after the Los Angeles Lakers legend’s death in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, Osaka tearfully talks about her admiration of Bryant’s famous Mamba mentality and influence.
“It’s so amazing how one person can, like, touch the hearts of so many people. I’ve been walking around and there’s so many people with Bryant jerseys on,” Osaka, 23, says in her self-shot footage after showing that she changed her lock screen background to a black-and-white portrait of herself and Bryant, whom she met in June 2019.
“When I talked to him, I felt so similar to him. Like the way he was talking, the way he would describe how, I don’t know, he would do things to get under his opponents’ skin or whatever. I was like, ‘That’s literally what I do.’ So I’m feeling like I let him down, like, I’m supposed to carry on his mentality in tennis and here I am like, having what … I haven’t won a Grand Slam. Like, I’m losing matches because I’m mentally weak, and he’s … that’s so uncharacteristic of him,” says Osaka, who just three days before on Jan. 24, 2020 had lost to American phenom Coco Gauff in the third round of the Australian Open and was unable to defend her 2019 title.
“We’re having all these talks and I’m not even doing what we’re talking about. So it’s like I’m just gonna text him again, like, ‘How do you heal with this situation?’ And then I didn’t text him that ’cause I didn’t wanna feel like a loser, and now I’ll never have the chance to talk to him again. I don’t know, like wow,” she says.
Osaka’s coach Wim Fissette also speaks about the athlete’s reaction to Bryant’s death, specifically how the loss impacted her performance at the 2020 Fed Cup qualifier against Sara Sorribes Tormo on Feb. 7, 2020. “The death of Kobe was a real thing that upset her. They were close,” he shares of Osaka, who broke down in tears after losing to Tormo.
Queen ‘disappointed’ with Meghan Markle, Harry over christening move
Queen Elizabeth is reportedly ‘disappointed’ over Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s move to christen Lilibet within the US and a former butler believes she’ll be heartbroken to miss such a special event.
Some former staffers even fear she’ll be utterly heartbroken if she is not able to participate in the grand event.
The Firm’s former royal butler Grant Harrold made this claim during his interview with Express.
There he speculated upon the possible plan of action Prince Harry and Meghan Markle may take regarding the christening, for the Queen, and claimed, “I am sure if this does not take place in the UK, the Queen will be disappointed to not attend the christening of her great-granddaughter.”
He also went on to add, “However, as with many families who have family overseas, sometimes it is not possible.”
“Maybe their christening will be recorded so the family in the UK can watch as well? Family is very important to the Queen and I am sure before too long she will meet her great-granddaughter.”
Oleksandr Usyk sends warning to Tyson Fury ahead of Anthony Joshua rematch
Oleksandr Usyk will put his newly won WBA, IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight belts on the line in his rematch with Anthony Joshua next year, but he’s already thinking about taking on Tyson Fury. The Ukrainian, 34, left British boxing fans stunned when he outclassed Joshua in London last month, scuppering hopes of a long awaited clash between Fury and ‘AJ’ in early 2022.
Joshua, 31, did promptly trigger his rematch clause however, before Fury came through his stunning trilogy bout with Deontay Wilder to retain his WBO and Ring Magazine titles.
Now Usyk, who after Evander Holyfied and David Haye is only the third fighter to win world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight level, is plotting to again get past Joshua before targeting a lucrative unification fight with ‘The Gypsy King’.
Speaking to The Sun, he was asked if he could see a clash with Fury happening: “Yes, of course, I do regard this fight a huge one. I see him as a very good fighter, good athlete, he talks a lot, he has a tongue.
“He claims he’s the king of the kings, but it’s only he who thinks that. That’s what I can say about him.”
Usyk, who won Olympic Gold at heavyweight level in the London 2012 Olympics, now has a professional record of 19-0-0, but was second favourite to beat Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
He cites that factor as further reason as to why he can potentially overcome Fury.
“Before my Joshua fight everyone was saying that I haven’t got a single chance to win and beat Joshua,” he continued.
“I used to hear those types of things throughout my life, but I am capable of beating Fury because I’m not boasting that I can just punish and beat every boxer in the world, but I just go to the gym and do my job.”
Hughie Fury could fight Derek Chisora in huge domestic fight
Since beating Wilder in Las Vegas, Fury, 33, has declared himself the beat heavyweight of this generation, and Usyk appeared to take a dig at that claim by adding “I’m not trying to present myself as the king of the Universe.
“I do what I have to do. I concentrate and I’m focused and I get the result according to my effort.”
The Ukrainian did however, acknowledge that Fury’s unique boxing style made him successful and brought him victories, which he said was the “main thing.”
As for Fury’s next opponent, that remains unclear after Dillian Whyte was forced to postpone his bout with Otto Wallin because of a shoulder injury.
Fury’s next opponent is unclear
Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn takes dig at Tyson Fury
Whyte, 33, is the mandatory challenger to Fury’s WBO crown, and it was widely thought a win over Wallin on October 30 would pave the way for a world title shot for ‘The Body Snatcher’.
Whyte, who has long been embroiled in an online war of words with Fury, said this week: “I am devastated as I had a great camp, was in great shape, and had great sparring.
“I was looking forward to knocking Wallin out and would have done so in the first half of the fight.”
Tennis great’s message to Emma Raducanu amid coaching drama
British teenage tennis phenomenon Emma Raducanu has been urged to find some coaching stability after a tumultuous period in the wake of her historic US Open title.
Raducanu raised eyebrows after parting ways with coach Andrew Richardson after her US Open victory – in a move that surprised many tennis commentators.
Richardson coached the teenage star for two years at youth level and linked up with her again in July on a short-term deal for the duration of her time in the United States.
However, Raducanu said she was looking for a coach with more experience at the elite level of world tennis.
The 18-year-old parted ways with coach Nigel Sears after her breakthrough Wimbledon run to the last 16, where she eventually succumbed to breathing difficulties.
She then linked up with Richardson to claim an almost unthinkable maiden grand slam title at Flushing Meadows, before again deciding to move on to new pastures.
Raducanu’s partnership with Katie Boulter’s coach Jeremy Bates was always going to be a stop-gap situation for the Indian Wells tournament in which the Brit crashed out in her first match.
Pictured here, Emma Raducanu speaks to the media at the Indian Wells tournament.
Emma Raducanu’s search for a new coach has taken many in the tennis world by surprise. Pic: AAP
The World No.24 is now set to link up with Spaniard Esteban Carril – who previously worked with fellow Brit Johanna Konta, before being axed just weeks after she was named most improved player of 2016 and broke into the world’s top ten.
Raducanu in set to play in the Transylvania Open in her father’s native Romania, but Carril is not set to start his tenure with the Brit until after the tournament.
Carril will be Raducanu’s fourth different coach in four months and British tennis great Greg Rusedksi says the teenager needs to find some stability for her game to flourish.
“Esteban (Carril) did a great job with Jo Konta when she had her big breakthrough and got into the top 10 in the world,” he said.
“Hopefully this works out for Emma. But she needs consistency from a team point of view to push on with all the success she has had at the US Open.”
Former British tennis player Barry Cowan said despite enjoying success at Wimbledon and then the US Open, Raducanu simply cannot keep churning through the coaches.
Teen warned about chopping and changing
“She made the Last 16 of Wimbledon and the coach got fired. She won the US Open and the coach got fired,” Cowan said.
“You cannot keep running your career like that. It will eventually catch up with you.
“Certainly she needs to build up and strike a relationship with Esteban. I hope it is successful and lasts.
“I don’t care who you are, whether you are Emma Raducanu, Serena Williams or Novak Djokovic, if you are having coaches short-term, it’s going to come back to bite you.”