On Saturday (March 12), tennis star Naomi Osaka lost in the second round during the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, The New York Times reports. She was outmatched by the No. 21 seed, Veronika Kudermetova in a 6-0, 6-4 defeat.
As she was on one side of the net, an attendee in the stands heckled the player. “Naomi, you suck,” the person yelled which triggered the young athlete. After her match, Osaka spoke with media addressing the issue.
“To be honest, I’ve gotten heckled before, and it didn’t really bother me,” she said. “But, like, heckled here? I watched a video of Venus and Serena getting heckled here, and if you’ve never watched it, you should watch it.
Naomi Osaka asked for the microphone after her loss against Veronika Kudermetova. Here’s what she said. pic.twitter.com/0Pj9WnNe4t
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) March 13, 2022
In 2001, Venus and Serena Williams were booed during the Indian Wells Masters resulting in the duo boycotting the tournament due to fan abuse. The tournament saw a return from Serena in 2015 and Venus in 2016. However, neither player will be participating in this year’s tournament which rounds out on March 20.
“And I don’t know why, but it went into my head, and it got replayed a lot,” she continued. “I feel like I’ve cried enough on camera,” she said in teary post-match remarks to the crowd. As she showed her emotions, fans cheered in support of her vulnerability. “Just thank you,” she told the crowd before placing her bag on her shoulder and exiting the court.
The 24-year-old Grand Slam champion has already ranked No. 1 in the world of tennis however, Osaka’s ranking dropped to No. 78. Still an active player, she hasn’t added anymore accolades to her resume since the 2021 Australian Open.
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