Naomi Osaka has the sweetest words for Serena Williams—even though they’re playing each other in the U.S. Open finals

If you’ve ever wondered what a professional athlete thinks about their opponents, you’re not alone. Naomi Osaka, the 20-year-old tennis champ set to take on Serena Williams at the U.S. Open finals on Saturday, September 8th, just gave us some insight—and it’s not at all what we were expecting.

Osaka beat Madison Keys on September 6th during the semifinals, meaning she’ll go on to compete in the finals against Williams (who’s played in a whopping 31 of them). When asked by a journalist what she was thinking while playing Keys, Osaka smiled, replying, “This is gonna sound really bad, but I was just thinking I really want to play Serena.”

Of course, most people would be terrified at the prospect of facing off against the literal greatest athlete of all time, but it seems Osaka is up for the challenge (she ultimately won a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Keys).

Then, when asked by ESPN if she had a message for Williams, Osaka simply said, "I love you," while laughing shyly.

Same, girl. We completely get it.

If she’s nervous at all about this career-defining moment, Osaka certainly didn’t show it. And no matter what ends up happening during their face-off on Saturday, we know it’ll be a special moment for Osaka (and tennis fans everywhere).

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