On Saturday, during her match at the Indian Wells Masters in California, Naomi Osaka got emotional on the court.
“Naomi, you suck!,” A heckler shouted from the stands.
After hearing the disturbing comment, Osaka prepared for her match against Veronika Kudermetova.
The crowd booed in response to the heckler. Even though the audience showed excellent support, Osaka visibly upset the comment. So, before the match began, Osaka requested to address the supportive crowd.
“I just want to say something. I’m not going to curse. I don’t curse. It’s just weighing on my heart,” Osaka explained to the umpire
The umpire denied her request; instead, they told her to wait until after the match to make her comments.
“I just want to say, ‘Thank you,'” Osaka said after the match. “I feel like I’ve cried enough on camera. I just wanted to say, to be honest, I’ve been heckled before, like it didn’t really bother me.”
Osaka clarified that part of her emotional reason had everything to do with her reflection. She remembers Serena Williams and Venus Williams had been verbally bullied by a fan in the stands the same way at Indian Wells early in their careers.
“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,”
Over the last year, Osaka has taken a hiatus from tennis. She also pulled out of the French Open to take a mental health break. Before that, the tennis star declined to participate in post-match press conferences during the Grand Slam tournament.
Osaka also sat out of Wimbledon last summer before returning to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.