'I wasn't expecting it (the call) to happen. It was a surprise. Apparently, my sister told my mom to do it'
Naomi Osaka received plenty of encouragement and advice from her mother Tamaki after her second-round victory at the US Open on Wednesday, although it came in the form of emojis printed on a sheet of paper.
Shortly after defeating Italian Camila Giorgi 6-1, 6-2, 2018 champion Osaka was led to a courtside big screen to take a video call from her mother in Florida, which momentarily caught the 22-year-old off guard.
What followed was a slightly awkward exchange between mother and daughter amid audio connection issues, before Tamaki held up a sheet of paper with her message.
"I wasn't expecting it (the call) to happen. It was a surprise. Apparently, my sister told my mom to do it," Osaka told reporters, before deciphering her mother's message.
"There were four lines. Thumbs up fire, which is like 'good job'. There was like a Twitter bird, whatever. She was saying 'don't go on social media, get some sleep'. Then 'drink a lot of green juice, get some rest'. And 'I love you'."
"... It was kind of a tech issue because normally I'm able to talk to her quite soundly. It would be kind of bad if all our conversations ended up like that. Definitely was a tech issue."
Karolina Muchova had also interacted with a special guest immediately after beating Venus Williams on Tuesday, after connecting virtually with actress Rebel Wilson.
"It was a bit odd because I remember I was watching Muchova playing Venus, and then I saw that she got a call ... from Rebel Wilson. I was like, 'Oh that's kind of cool'," Osaka added.
"Yeah, definitely wasn't expecting my mom to call today."