Naomi Osaka briefly left a press convention in tears. While talking to reporters on Monday, forward of her first match on the Western & Southern Open, the 23-year-old tennis star overtly cried and left the room after questions from the press.
The press convention was Osaka’s first since saying in May that she wouldn’t be talking to the press on the French Open, citing psychological well being issues. After she received her first match on the event and was fined $15,000 for skipping the ensuing press convention, Osaka pulled out of the French Open altogether to additional defend her psychological well being.
During Monday’s press convention, Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Paul Daugherty requested Osaka, “You’re not crazy about dealing with us, especially in this [press conference] format. Yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform. I guess my question is, how do you balance the two?”
Osaka responded by asking Daugherty to make clear his query. Once he did, she mentioned that “when to do the press conference is the most difficult” half, earlier than pausing to assume extra about Daugherty’s query.
At that time, the moderator supplied to let her skip answering. The tennis star insisted that she was “very interested in that point of view,” although, and as soon as once more requested Daugherty to repeat his query. He did, and Osaka supplied a solution.
“I can’t really speak for everybody, but ever since I was younger I’ve had a lot of media interest on me and I think it’s because of my background as well as, you know, how I play,” she mentioned. “Because in the first place, I’m a tennis player, that’s why a lot of people are interested in me. I would say in that regard I’m quite different to a lot of people.”
“I can’t really help [that] there are some things that I tweet or some things that I say that kind of create a lot of news articles and things like that. I know that it’s because I’ve won a couple Grand Slams and I’ve gotten to do a lot of press conferences that these things happen, but I would also say I’m not really sure how to balance the two,” she continued. “I’m figuring out at the same time you are.”
While Osaka didn’t cry whereas giving her reply, she started doing so simply as the subsequent reporter, Courtney Nguyen of WTA Insider, began asking her query.
Osaka began wiping away tears and pulled her visor over her face because the reporter started asking about each her coaching and her promise to donate any winnings she receives from the event to Haiti, her father’s dwelling nation, within the wake of the latest devastating earthquake.
When the reporter realized that Osaka was crying, she apologized, and Osaka responded, “No, you’re super good.”
The tennis star subsequent took a few deep breaths and continued to cry, earlier than the moderator introduced that they’d be taking “a quick break.” Osaka left the room together with her head down, earlier than returning to reply questions shortly thereafter. Upon her return, Osaka apologized for strolling out.
Following the press convention, Daugherty informed ET in an announcement, “I asked her a simple question, one I’ve asked lots of young and famous pro athletes over the years. She gave a candid and perceptive answer. That’s pretty much the point, isn’t it?”
The reporter additionally penned a column through which he wrote that he was not sure if Osaka understood his query or was made uncomfortable by it, including that “in the Zoom format, there’s no room for discussion or nuance.”
Later within the column, he praised Osaka’s response as “honest, thoughtful, and unlike any answer I’ve ever gotten in 34 years covering sports in Cincinnati.”
Meanwhile, in an announcement to ET, Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, referred to as Daugherty “a bully,” including that he’s “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,” the assertion continued. “And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth — don’t be so self-indulgent.”
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