"Now only a year later, I'm not training, but I'm actually in these finals, in two in a row", Williams continued, referring also to her advance to the Wimbledon final.
Osaka, 20, who is of mixed heritage with a Japanese mother and Haitian father, was just a young child when Williams won her first grand slam in 1999.
The pair has met just once before, with Osaka stunning Williams 6-3 6-2 at the Miami Open in March. Having reached the Wimbledon final in July, she has flown through the US Open draw like a high-speed NY subway train.
Follow along with Saturday's final with our live updates.
JL: First things first: Naomi Osaka can't get used to fending off every break point in a match.
On her way to that title in California, Osaka beat four seeded players, including world number one Simona Halep and fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, as well as five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova. Osaka was born there, then moved to NY when she was 3 and is now based in Florida.
"Surreal, " said Osaka, who was born in Japan, has Haitian blood and lived in the US since she was 3. "It was hard. You think she's going to let up but she didn't". She has never played a match of this magnitude.
"She sees her as the queen she wants to emulate and compete against, " Osaka's physio, Abdul Sillah, told The Post, wearing a Yankees ballcap following the semifinal victory over Madison Keys. I think that experience was really good for me. "I love you (Serena)".
After reaching her maiden Grand Slam final Osaka spoke of realising a dream in booking a meeting with Williams, in what has already been a breakthrough season.
"I shouldn't think of her as my idol, just as an opponent", said Osaka.
Mari Osaka is a professional tennis player and the sister of fellow professional tennis player Naomi Osaka, who is playing Serena Williams in the final for the U.S. Open on September 7. If Osaka falls behind, it would be all too easy to accept that she's had a fantastic tournament but that this is Serena's time to make history.
Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles, including seven U.S. Open championships. She must believe that and play like it from the first point. I'm only a few months in and really looking forward to the rest of the year and next year.
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