Naomi Osaka attended her first press conference after stepping back from the French Open in May. Safe to say the talk didn’t go too well as the four-time grand slam champion burst into tears whilst addressing comments from the reporter.
Osaka had previously withdrawn from Roland Garros on 31st May after being subjected to a possible expulsion over unfulfilled media duties. However, the 23-year-old represented Japan in the Olympics and settled for participating in a press conference on Monday.
In recent times, the tennis prodigy has had a strained relationship with media outlets. She has frequently commented on their inappropriate line of questioning, which has time and time again impacted her overall well-being.
When one such reporter had called Naomi Osaka out on using the media as per convenience, she broke into tears. She later told the reporter, who was identified as Paul Daugherty, that she was content with her decision to decline media briefings.
While speaking at the 2021 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Osaka said “it was something I needed to do for myself.” She further continued by saying how her experience at the Olympics was “eye-opening”- one that allowed her to understand the positive impact of her decision.
But a few seconds later, Naomi Osaka started to choke on the reporter’s next question, where he was only asking about her plan to donate the received prize money to the victims of Haiti earthquake. Her response came in the form of “No, you’re good,” followed by an awkward pause.
Moments later however, the tennis star covered her face with a cap and subtly sobbed on the microphone. Consequently, her press officer had to stop the question-and-answer session for the time being.
Although the real wordings of Daugherty’s question have not been released, a small clip of Osaka beginning to answer the question has been doing the rounds on the internet. Meanwhile, her agent, Stuart Duguid has published a statement that throws shade on the reporter’s ill-toned question.
“The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player/media relations are so fraught right now. Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behavior,”
said a furious Duguid.