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Naomi Osaka Breaks Down After She Heckled At Indian Wells

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Naomi Osaka Breaks Down After She Heckled At Indian Wells

“I don’t know why, but it went into my head and it got replayed a lot. I’m trying not to cry.”

Naomi Osaka was visibly tearing up when she walked up to the umpire, asking for the mic after a woman shouted from the crowd, “Naomi, you suck.” The bullying got to her good and ruined her whole match.

The former No. 1 had just lost one round on the match against Veronika Kudermetova 6-0, 6-4. The chair umpire replied when she asked for the mic, “I have to speak to my supervisor. What do you want to say?”

Naoimi Osaka cries mental health talk 1
AP

“I just want to say something. I’m not going to curse. I don’t curse. It’s just weighing on my heart,” she explained herself.

Her request was denied as the chair umpire had instead offered her to talk out the emotional situation with Claire Wood, the WTA Tour supervisor. It was a “totally unprecedented” situation. Wood reassured them, “If it happens again, we’re going to find them.”

Naoimi Osaka cries mental health talk 4
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Osaka, who proceeded to lost the match after the incident shook her, fell behind two breaks and lose 6-0, 6-4.

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AP

She waited for the winner, Veronika Kudermetova, to finish her speech before she moved onstage to give her speech, which was not often seen in matches.

“To be honest, I’ve gotten heckled before, like it didn’t really bother me, but heckled here,” she finally shared her feelings. “I watched a video of Venus and Serena (Williams) getting heckled here (in 2001), if you’ve never watched it you should watch it.”

Naoimi Osaka cries mental health talk 2
AP

“I don’t know why, but it went into my head and it got replayed a lot. I’m trying not to cry.”

The incident she talked about was when Serena and Venus Williams were booed and heckled by the crowds at Indian Wells in 2001, with their father Richard Williams, revealing that there were racial slurs being thrown at them. All because Venus withdrew after she sustained a knee injury just before her match against her sister was about to begin.

Osaka had been open about her mental health since her Flushing Meadows match in 2018 against Serena Williams.

Naoimi Osaka cries mental health talk 5
EPA

She’s also decided to not participate in media obligations at the French Open, a decision that was supported by many fellow professional sportsmen and sportswomen from Serena Williams, Simone Biles, to NBA player Steph Curry. She eventually withdrew from the match.

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Her opponent, Kudermetova, shared, “I didn’t hear what that lady say because I really so focus on my game, on my serve game. I didn’t understand what she say. But after that moment, I saw that Naomi, she start to cry.”

“I know she’s the strong, the great person. I think it will be good with her.”

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