Naomi Osaka Shed Tears After Responding To Heckler
Tennis star and four-time major champion Naomi Osaka was heckled by a fan during her Saturday night (March 11) loss at the BNP Paribas Open.
According to CNN, the spectator’s comment of “Naomi, you suck,” cut through the stadium at Indian Wells, California, prompting Osaka to break into tears.
A video of the incident shows Osaka preparing a serve before the crowd simultaneously reacted to the heckler’s comment. She decided not to continue her serve.
“What if someone was to point in [the heckler’s] general direction? I’m just asking,” Osaka asked the umpire.
ESPN reported that Osaka stepped to the umpire chair and requested that the spectator be kicked out. Osaka asked the umpire for the microphone, in order to address the crowd about the heckling situation. The umpire rejected this request.
Osaka, 24, ultimately lost 6-0, 6-4 after not being able to find her footing for success, obviously impacted by the heckler’s comment. ESPN reports that the heckler was reportedly never discovered in the crowd.
Following the match, she was able to address her frustrations in a post-game interview.
“To be honest, I’ve gotten heckled before,” she said. “But [being] heckled here, I watched a video of Venus and Serena [Williams] getting heckled here, and if you’ve never watched it, you should watch it. I don’t know why, but it went into my head, and it got replayed a lot. I’m trying not to cry.”
Osaka has been vocal with her struggle with mental health — on and off the Tennis court. In June 2021, she was hit with a $15,000 fine after refusing to speak to the media during the French Open. She opted out after stating she feels people have no regard for an athlete’s mental health.
“I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me,” she Tweeted in her statement.