Serena Williams Fights Tears, Walks Out of Presser ... After Loss to Naomi Osaka

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NO MORE QUESTIONS

Emotional moment for Serena Williams -- who choked back tears before abruptly ending a press conference after her loss to Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open.

The 39-year-old superstar was defeated by Osaka in straight sets in a semi-finals match Thursday morning -- and as she left the court, put her hand on her heart to show love for the Australian crowd.

During the post-game press conference, Serena was asked if the gesture meant she was saying "farewell" ... especially with all the retirement talk following her these days.

"I don't know," Serena responded ... "If I ever say farewell, I wouldn't tell anyone."

Moments later, Serena was asked about the unusual amount of unforced errors she committed during her match with Osaka ... was she injured or was it just a bad day at the office?

That's when Serena grabbed a sip of water, took a deep breath ... and seemed to fight back the tears.

With her voice shaking, Serena finally replied, "I don't know" ... and that's when she stood up and said, "I'm done" ... and walked off.

Obviously, she just lost a match she cared deeply about winning -- and she's understandably emotional. But, it's unclear if she's seriously considering retirement.

As for her opponent, Naomi Osaka did her post-game presser wearing a Lakers jacket in an apparent tribute to her former mentor, Kobe Bryant.

And, when she was asked about her mindset going into the Serena match ... she sounded just like Mamba.

Serena Williams' Husband Fashion Statement At Australian Open ... My Wife Is Greatest Athlete!!!

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Serena Williams destroyed another opponent at the Australian Open -- and her hubby thinks it's about time she gets the respect she deserves!!!

Check out Alexis Ohanian in the stands -- along with his sister-in-law Venus Williams -- watching his wife dominate Simona Halep in 2 straight sets.

His shirt reads, "Greatest Female Athlete" -- with the word "female" crossed out.

In other words, she's the G.O.A.T athlete -- men included!

There's more ... Ohanian also went to social media and talked some trash about Ion Tiriac -- the super-rich ex-tennis star who's the director of the Madrid Open.

Remember, Tiriac recently went on a Romanian television show and trashed 39-year-old Serena -- saying, "At this age and the weight she is now, she does not move as easily as she did 15 years ago."

"Serena was a sensational player. If she had a little decency, she would retire! From all points of view."

Ohanian used Serena'as victory at the Australian Open as an excuse to fire back at Tiriac -- tweeting, "Good thing no one listens to that racist sexist Ion Tiriac."

As for Serena, she's won 39 Grand Slam titles in her amazing career -- 23 in singles, 14 in women's doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles. She also has 4 Olympic gold medals.

And, if you need any more proof of her greatness, check out her trophy room!!!

Novak Djokovic Epic Temper Tantrum At Australian Open ... Damages Court

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Tennis star Novak Djokovic absolutely lost his mind at the Australian Open on Tuesday ... obliterating his racket in a fit of rage and causing a delay.

Djokovic -- who's been on edge in the major tournament Down Under as he's fighting through an abdominal injury -- was in a heated quarter-final match with Alexander Zverev when he lost his cool.

Tennis' #1-ranked player returned a key serve in the third set into the net ... and then melted down.

He let out a massive yell, slammed his racket into the court three times ... and then walked to his bench and threw the destroyed piece of equipment down angrily.

The temper tantrum left such a mess on the court, a ball person actually had to sweep up all the debris. The court itself, meanwhile, had three scars in it!!

Djokovic, though, was NOT penalized for the outburst ... and he ended up battling his way to a victory. Afterward, Novak admitted he felt "drained."

Of course, the 33-year-old is no stranger to outbursts on the court ... remember, he was disqualified from the U.S. Open back in September after he angrily and haphazardly hit a ball at a lineswoman.

At the time, Djokovic apologized for that incident ... and vowed to grow from the ordeal.

Australian Open Fans Booted From Stadiums Over New COVID Lockdown

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No more fans at the Australian Open ... at least for the next week.

With the number of COVID cases in the Australian state of Victoria rising to 19 -- officials decided it was best to go back into a state-wide lockdown.

Officials declared the state would return to Stage 4 restrictions on Friday -- which means Victoria will effectively be in a state of lockdown for at least 5 days in the hopes of stopping a possible spread of the virus.

As soon as the announcement was made, tournament officials began asking fans to leave the tennis courts, ASAP.

Roughly 6 million people live in Victoria -- and now they will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential activities like shopping for food, work, medical treatment, etc.

The Australian Open tournament director, Craig Tiley, said the event will continue ... but in a bubble environment where fans will not be allowed to attend until the restrictions have been lifted.

"Play will continue, the players will compete in a bubble not dissimilar to what they've been doing for the last year," Tiley said.

"Those that will be allowed on site will be players and direct support teams, as well as staff members unable to do their work from home. ... Those essential to the delivery of the event will be on site."

Top players from all over the world had flown to Australia for the tourney -- including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Rafael Nadal and more.

In fact, Serena had praised the country for its handling of COVID and gushed about how nice it was to play in front of crowds again.

Stay safe, everyone.

Rafael Nadal Heckler Booted From Australian Open ... Shot Middle Finger At Tennis Star!!!

A Rafael Nadal heckler was ejected from the Australian Open on Thursday ... and the scene was both bizarre and hilarious -- 'cause the woman straight-up shot the tennis star the bird from the stands!

The wild moment all went down during Nadal's win over Michael Mmoh at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne ... when Nadal had to stop play mid-match over some screaming in the stands.

Turns out, a woman was yelling trying to distract the 34-year-old Spaniard ... and when Rafa kept pausing to look at her actions, she eventually flipped him off!!

Security tried to get involved ... but the fan kept going -- and the whole time, Nadal was cracking up!

At one point, announcers suspected the woman was drunk ... saying on the broadcast, "Maybe a bit too much -- a bit inebriated, I think."

One of the announcers then added, "This is chaos."

Finally, after a two- or three-minute delay, security got ahold of the woman and booted her from the premises.

Afterward, Nadal -- who went on to win the match easily -- joked about the whole thing, telling an AO official that he did not know the woman and, "honestly, I don't want to know."

Serena Williams 1-Legged Catsuit at Australian Open ... Dominates

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SLAYYYYYYYY.

Serena Williams killed the fashion game -- and her opponent -- in her first official match at the Australian Open ... rockin' a 1-legged catsuit in an awesome tribute to track legend Florence Griffith Joyner.

The G.O.A.T. took the court Sunday against Laura Siegemund and just beat the daylights out of the German in 2 straight sets.

After the match, Serena explained her outfit.

"I was inspired by Flo-Jo, who was a wonderful track athlete, amazing athlete when I was growing up," Serena said.

"Watching her fashion, just always changing, her outfits were always amazing."

She added, "The Nike team actually thought of this design of inspiration from Flo-Jo. I was like, 'Oh, my god, this is so brilliant.'"

Flo-Jo was one of the greatest sprinters in American history -- speeding to 3 gold medals at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul in the 100m, 200m and 4x100 relay.

Griffith Joyner passed away in 1998 after suffering an epileptic seizure in her sleep. She was only 38 -- but her reputation as an elite athlete and fashion icon lives on.

As for Serena, she's set to take on 24-year-old Nina Stojanović on Tuesday -- and will likely destroy her as well.

Serena Williams Shows Off Insane Trophy Room 2nd Place Trophies Go In the Trash!

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YOU GOTTA SEE THE MASSIVE TROPHY ROOM IN SERENA WILLIAMS' MIAMI MANSION!!!

Oh, and you also have to see when she discovers a 2nd place trophy on one of her shelves -- and says she's moving it to the TRASH!!!

"I see a 2nd place trophy but I’m gonna put that one in the trash -- shouldn’t be in here. We don't keep second place."

The tennis goddess opened up the doors to her Miami home for Architectural Digest ... showing off everything from her own private art gallery (!!!!!) to the bar, media room and more.

But, the highlight for us is the Trophy Room ... which contains hardware from her victories at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, Australian Open, French Open and more.

It's unreal.

Serena has so many trophies, she can barely keep track of what trophies she has and where some of them are located ... and if that's not the most baller thing ever, what the hell is?!

Of course, Serena has won 39 Grand Slam titles in her amazing career -- 23 in singles, 14 in women's doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles. She also has 4 Olympic gold medals.

#GOAT

Australian Open Tune-up Matches Canceled Over COVID Case ... Players Quarantining

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Bad news Down Under ... a worker associated with the Australian Open has tested positive for COVID and now ALL of the players (including Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka) have been ordered to isolate.

AO officials made the announcement Wednesday ... explaining an employee at one of the Australian Open quarantine hotels came down with the virus this week.

And, because of the case, they've now canceled Thursday's Australian Open tune-up games ... and have said players and AO workers who were at the hotel must now go back into quarantine.

"Those associated with the AO who quarantined at the hotel now need to be tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result," officials said.

"We will work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible. There will be no matches at Melbourne Park on Thursday."

Of course, Australia's COVID rules required everyone who flew in from out of the country to isolate for 14 days AND test negative before they could go out in public.

The rule had seemed to work beautifully ... Australian officials had just announced they hadn't had a positive case in the entire country in nearly 2 full weeks.

In fact, things were going so swimmingly, maskless fans packed an arena last week to watch some Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic warm-up games.

Now, however, the AO's Feb. 8 start time could be in jeopardy due to the new case ... although officials said there's no change on that front as of this moment.

"An update on the schedule for Friday will be announced later today," AO officials said.

Serena Williams Plays In Front of Maskless Crowd at Australian Open ... No COVID Here!

Surreal scene Down Under ... tennis fans PACKED a stadium to watch tune-up games for the Australian Open -- with masks nowhere to be found!!!

... and Serena Williams loved every second of it!!!

Don't worry -- this wasn't a super-spreader event ... because of strict quarantine rules and other regulations in place to fight COVID, Australia is actually a coronavirus-free area.

In fact, officials announced Friday the entire country hasn't had a positive case in nearly two weeks!!!

So, an estimated crowd of around 4,000 jammed into an arena in Adelaide on Friday to watch tennis stars like Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic prep for the Aussie Open ... and it was all awesome.

Check out the pics ... fans were shoulder to shoulder, with no masks and no social distancing -- and no worries at all of getting sick.

As for the players, they were all forced to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arriving in Australia to ensure they didn't spread the virus ... and most had expressed publicly how difficult that was.

Williams, though, spoke after her match with Osaka and was grateful the rules and regulations allowed her and others to play maskless and without fear of catching COVID.

"We haven't played in front of a crowd in over a year," Williams said. "So it's been a really long time. So this is really cool."

Serena thanked the Australian crowd for "having us and trusting us with your laws" -- adding, "We were so happy just to be here and now it's worth it."

The tennis stars are slated to stay in Australia for the next few weeks ... the Open kicks off on February 8 in Melbourne, where more maskless crowds are expected.

Naomi Osaka I'M A TEAM OWNER NOW!!! Buys Stake of Pro Women's Soccer Team

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She owns the tennis court. Now, Naomi Osaka owns a pro women's soccer team too!

The 23-year-old superstar just bought an ownership stake in the North Carolina Courage of the National Women's Soccer League -- and it's all part of her plan to grow women's sports throughout the country.

The Courage are the reigning NWSL champions -- and have been one of the most dominant teams in the league over the past few years.

Unclear how much Osaka paid for her ownership stake -- but she can certainly afford it ... Forbes says she was the highest-paid female athlete in the world in 2020, raking in more than $37 MILLION.

So, why the NWSL? Osaka says it was extremely important to her to invest in women's sports -- and she felt the NWSL was the perfect place to start.

"Throughout my career I've always received so much love from my fellow female athletes, so that's why I am proud to share that I am now an owner of the NC Courage," Osaka tweeted Thursday.

"The women who have invested in me growing up made me who I am today, I don't know where I would be without them,"

Osaka also told People she had been wanting to invest in an NWSL team for a while -- and ultimately felt the Courage was the perfect fit for her.

"I love that young girls can now look to professional soccer as a realistic sporting career," Osaka said ... "When I was young it felt like tennis -- and maybe golf -- was the only option."

Osaka joins a star-studded group of women who recently invested in NWSL teams -- including Candace Parker, Billie Jean King, and Patrick Mahomes' fiancee Brittany Matthews.

Stephen Malik -- who bought the Courage in 2017 -- said he's "thrilled" to welcome Osaka to the ownership group ... saying, "She brings an invaluable viewpoint on topics beyond sports."

"I cannot think of anyone better to help us as we continue to make a difference in our community and inspire the next generation of women."

CONGRATS!!

Serena Williams' Husband Rips 'Racist/Sexist Clown' Billionaire ... Over Criticism

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Serena Williams' husband is clapping back HARD at a billionaire who criticized the tennis legend ... with Alexis Ohanian calling the guy a straight-up "racist/sexist clown."

Here's the backstory ... Ion Tiriac -- the super-rich ex-tennis star who's the director of the Madrid Open -- went on a Romanian television show recently and jabbed at Serena.

"At this age and the weight she is now, she does not move as easily as she did 15 years ago," Tiriac said, according to ProSport in Romania.

"Serena was a sensational player. If she had a little decency, she would retire! From all points of view."

FYI, Tiriac has quarreled with Serena in the past ... he's criticized Williams' weight while pining that the sport needs to shine a spotlight on players outside of her. Williams, meanwhile, called those comments in 2018 both "ignorant" and "sexist."

This time, however, it was Williams' husband who fired back at Tiriac ... and the co-founder of Reddit didn't pull punches.

37-year-old Ohanian went after Tiriac on social media ... blasting the 81-year-old in a series of tweets.

"Safe to say no one gives a damn what Ion Țiriac thinks," Ohanian wrote. "Had to Google it... turns out my 3 year old has more Grand Slam victories than this [clown]."

Ohanian added, "2021 and no holding back when a racist/sexist clown with a platform comes for my family."

For her part, 39-year-old Williams has yet to publicly comment on the matter.

Tennis Star Alexander Zverev Digs In Against Abuse Claims ... 'They Are Not True'

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Tennis star Alexander Zverev is adamant he did NOT put his hands on his ex-girlfriend ... saying the recent allegations made against him are simply not true.

The 23-year-old German's ex-GF, Olga Sharypova, went public last week with claims he hit her head against a wall, twisted her arms and tried to strangle her with a pillow in August 2019.

Zverev quickly responded with a statement of his own ... saying the accusations are "unfounded."

"I very much regret that she makes such statements," the #7-ranked player in the world said. "Because the accusations are simply not true. We had a relationship, but it ended a long time ago."

"Why Olga is making these accusations now, I just don't know."

Zverev was asked again about the claims after beating Miomir Kecmanovic at the Paris Masters tournament on Wednesday ... doubling down on his innocence.

"I have said everything on my Instagram," Zverev said. "There is nothing else I can add right now. I’m here to play tennis."

"I mean, the relationship, as I said, has been over for a very long time."

"I'm enjoying my time on the court. I have said everything. [The allegations] are not true, and there is nothing more I can say right now."

Broke Idiot Boris Becker Accused of Hiding Wimbledon Trophies ... from Debt Collectors

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No money, Mo problems ...

Boris Becker appeared in a London courtroom Thursday to plead not guilty to allegations he's been hiding several tennis trophies from debt collectors.

... another bizarre twist in one of the weirdest falls from grace ever.

Remember, Becker -- a former tennis superstar who made more than $25 mil in his career -- was declared bankrupt in 2017 after racking up what court officials called a "historic debt."

52-year-old Becker was later ordered to surrender any possessions of value to a trustee -- who could in turn sell the items to help satisfy the debt. It's common practice in bankruptcy cases.

Among the items, Becker was ordered to hand over ... his Wimbledon trophies from 1985 and 1989 and his Australian Open trophies from 1991 and 1996.

FYI, Becker was only 17 when he won Wimbledon in '85 -- making him the youngest men's singles champ ever.

In other words, the trophy is probably super valuable to collectors.

But, Becker allegedly failed to hand over the trophies -- along with roughly $1.3 million in cash ... so prosecutors have pushed forward with criminal charges in a new 28-count indictment.

If convicted, Becker reportedly faces several years behind bars. This is a big deal.

Becker's attorney, Jonathan Caplan, says the tennis star is "determined to face and contest these charges and restore his reputation in relation to the allegations made against him."

Yeah, good luck with that.

By the way, Becker has allegedly tried to run from his debt in the past -- back in 2018, he claimed to have a diplomatic passport from the Central African Republic that would give him immunity in his bankruptcy case in the UK.

But, officials from the Central African Republic claimed the document was fake -- and they had no record of Becker ever receiving any such passport.

Naomi Osaka, Cordae Sunset Dinner On Beach For Birthday ... Romantic Getaway

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LIKE A MOVIE

Rose petals?? Check. Sunset views on the beach?? Check. Candles and live music?? Check and check!!

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka and her rapper boyfriend Cordae had the most epic romantic dinner on the beach to celebrate her birthday this week ... and it legit looks like it came out of a dream.

The couple has been boo'd up in paradise for about a week to celebrate Osaka's 23rd (which was Oct. 16) ... posting up at the beach and other cozy spots.

The top highlight had to be their private dinner on the sand ... where the "Gifted" lyricist vibed to the tunes of the night as Osaka soaked it all in.

"I felt like I was in a movie," the 3-time Grand Slam winner said on Tuesday.

Of course, Osaka and Cordae have been together for over a year ... but this is by far the most romantic we've seen the couple!

Cordae has played the role of cheerleader this year as well, supporting Osaka from the stands during her U.S. Open championship run.

It was a great 22nd year for the #3 tennis player in the world ... and we're sure her Jordan year will be just as special if it continues in this direction!!

Genie Bouchard Dating NFL QB Mason Rudolph!!!

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Call this a new kind of love-love for tennis star Genie Bouchard ... TMZ Sports has confirmed she's now dating Pittsburgh Steelers QB Mason Rudolph!!!

A source close to the couple tells us the two began a romantic fling recently ... and have gotten pretty serious.

In fact, 26-year-old Genie was just spotted at a fancy restaurant in Pittsburgh this week ... posting a pic of her at the place with the caption, "Pitt stop."

25-year-old Mason -- who was presumably on the other end of the camera -- dropped a "like" on the photo.

Of course, the new relationship means the end of a possible old one for Rudolph ... as we previously reported, the quarterback had been seen in L.A. in April getting cozy with "Bachelor" star Hannah Ann Sluss.

Unclear how serious the two were ... but Rudolph's clearly moved on either way.

As for Genie, she's been no stranger to famous dates in the past ... remember Super Bowl bet guy?!

But, seems she's finally found her special someone ... which is awesome for her, considering just a few months ago she tweeted that going through quarantine "would be a lot more fun with a boyfriend."

Congrats!!

LeBron James I'm On the Wheaties Box!!! ... Takes Over for Serena

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Michael Jordan's done it. Same with Walter Payton and Mary Lou Retton.

And now, LeBron James is finally getting the honor of being on the Wheaties box!!

It's kinda crazy LeBron hasn't been on the box before considering he's been an NBA superstar since 2003, but better late than never!

General Mills announced the Lakers superstar will take over as the box cover athlete, relieving Serena Williams of her cereal duties.

The company says it picked LeBron to celebrate his "efforts both on and off the court" -- most notably, his accomplishments with the I Promise program for underprivileged kids in Akron, Ohio.

In fact, LeBron will share the Wheaties box with images of kids, families and faculty from the I Promise program and the I Promise public school.

FYI, Wheaties has been putting top athletes on the cereal box for 85 years -- the very first athlete to grace the cover was Lou Gehrig back in 1934!

Congrats!

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