A heckler shouted at Naomi Osaka during a Saturday tennis match at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, bringing her to tears, according to The Washington Post.
“Naomi, you suck!” a woman yelled to the Grand Slam champion during her tennis match against Veronika Kudermetova, which she lost.
According to TMZ, the audience rallied to Osaka’s defense and turned on the agitator.
Following her 6-0, 6-4 loss, the tennis player addressed the crowd and expressed her gratitude in an emotional statement.
“To be honest, I’ve been heckled before. It didn’t really bother me. But heckled here, like, I’ve watched a video of Venus and Serena get heckled here, and if you’ve never watched it, you should watch it. I don’t know why, but it went into my head and got replayed a lot. I just wanted to say thank you and congratulations [to Kudermetova]. Thank you,” the 24-year-old said, according to The Washington Post.
Osaka has been open about her challenges as a professional tennis player and the pressure she faces to perform well.
“I feel like for me; recently, when I win, I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad,” she said, NBC News reports.
Osaka pulled out of the French Open due to mental health concerns. She also decided not to compete in Wimbledon before flying to Tokyo for the Olympics.
Watch her speech here: https://twitter.com/TheTennisLetter/status/1502895302809845761?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1502895302809845761%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fblavity.com%2Fnaomi-osaka-became-emotional-after-heckler-yelled-you-suck-during-tennis-match%3Fcategory1%3Dnews