The cartoon was intended as a lampoon of the tennis star's angry exchanges with chair umpire Carlos Ramos at the U.S. Women's Singles final in NY on Saturday.
But he denies this in the video above.
In Saturday's women's final, Ramos charged Williams with three violations, including a game violation, as Osaka - the 20-year-old rising star who is of Japanese and Haitian descent - went on to defeat Williams in straight sets. Not too far away, Osaka, a small, frail figure, is seen standing looking lost, while the umpire is telling her, "Can you just let her win?". Then came Mark Knight's cartoon, which was immediately shredded to pieces for being "racist" and "sexist'".
Stefanovic added he "hoped that she's okay with it" and that Williams would travel to Melbourne for the Australian Open in early 2019.
Knight's portrayal of Osaka as blond and light-skinned also drew criticism for being racist.
In the match, the umpire, Carlos Santos, issued code violations because Williams broke her racket and because her coach made a coaching gesture during play.
"We can not measure ourselves by what we think we should also be able to get away with", Navratilova wrote.
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"Honestly, my mouth dropped open, because I do cover a lot of black news and a lot of it is hard to take, but when I saw this - a blatant caricature of one of the most celebrated athletes in the world - it was offensive, shocking and completely uncalled for", she said.
"But in her protests. she also got part of it wrong". Knight has rendered her hair fully blonde, when in reality it is black with bleached tips, and presents it in a very visible pony tail hanging over the back of her visor.
Every time we cry foul over tennis goddess Serena Williams being victimised in a "white man's game", we fail as Serena fans.
Australian cartoonist Paul Zanetti weighed in saying it was the job of cartoonists to call out bad behaviour and not fall prey to an increasingly politically correct culture.
Williams was fined a total of $17,000, which is deducted from her prize money of $1.85 million as the tournament's runner-up, according to Associated Press. The vitriol and the hatred that has been unfurled as a result - I mean, the cartoonist, we understand, has security now outside his house.
The Women's Tennis Association and the U.S. Tennis Association both sent out statements supporting Williams during the loss. "Ramos, effectively, had no choice but to dock her a point", Navratilova said.
"It's hard to know, and debatable, whether Ms. Williams could have gotten away with calling the umpire a thief if she were a male player", Navratilova wrote.