The aftermath of Naomi Osaka's defeat of 15-year-old Coco Gauff in the third round of the US Open, played out on court and in post-match interviews, was emotional. "She was crying, she won. I was crying. Everybody was crying!" Gauff said later, the BBC reports. "I didn't know why she was crying. I was like, 'You won the match!'" The US Open's Twitter account said, "We're all crying." After igniting Cocomania when she reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in July, Gauff was convincingly defeated Saturday, 6-3, 6-0, leaving her and her passionate fans heartbroken. Laurryen Lennon, a 12-year-old tennis player watching and crying at home in North Carolina, told USA Today she wished she could be with Gauff after the match. She'd tell her: "I love you so much. You’ve motivated me so much in my tennis and my life and in everything. I hope you know that this loss doesn’t mean anything."
When the match ended, Osaka, the Open's defending champion, hugged Gauff. The 21-year-old asked the teenager if she'd join her for an interview. Gauff declined, fearing she'd cry, per CNN. Also, Gauff said, "I didn't want to take that moment away from her." Osaka asked again, and eventually, Gauff agreed. "She told me it's better than crying in the shower," she said. Osaka hugged her again before the interview, and the crowd cheered. Osaka said she doesn't consider herself a mentor to Gauff, whom she's known for several years. Teary herself, she turned to the box where Gauff's parents were sitting. "You guys raised an amazing player," she told them. The Japanese champion demonstrated that she's a "true athlete," the American said afterward. "For me the definition of an athlete is someone who on the court treats you like your worst enemy but off the court can be your best friend," Gauff said. "I think that's what she did tonight." (Read more Coco Gauff stories.)