Brought to tears by heckler, Naomi Osaka asks for microphone after crashing out of Indian Wells
Naomi Osaka, left in tears during her match, had something to say to a heckler in the crowd after losing at the Indian Wells.
Naomi Osaka, left in tears and crashing to a 0-6, 4-6 defeat at the Indian Wells after being heckled by a person in the crowd on Sunday, took the microphone and addressed the crowd after her match.
She spoke about having seen videos of black tennis players Serena and Venus Williams being heckled at the venue before. Wiping back tears, she said the heckling did not bother her. Here is what she said:
"I've been heckled before and it didn't really bother me," Osaka said while holding back tears.
"But being heckled here. I've watched video of Venus and Serena get heckled here and if you've never watched it, you should watch it. And I don't know why, but it went into my head and got replayed a lot."
"I just want to say thank you and congratulations," she said.
The victorious Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, who was not derailed by the drama during the match, offered her support as the crowd cheered for Osaka. The crowd had rallied behind Osaka earlier in the match too as she had been visibly distraught.
'In a crowd of 10,000 people, one person's voice should not drown out 9,999 others,' said the on-field commentator as Osaka walked away tearfully.
Earlier in the match too, she had asked the chair umpire if she could communicate with one member of the crowd with the umpire's microphone.
Osaka was rattled by a heckler early in her second-round match against Veronika Kudermetova on Saturday and never recovered. After being broken in the first game, a fan shouted "Naomi, you suck" and Osaka could be seen wiping away tears.
Osaka has been open about her struggles with mental wellness in the past and took a break from the sport following last year's US Open.