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WATCH: Naomi Osaka reduced to tears after being heckled at Indian Wells Masters

Osaka, who was playing her first match after bowing out of the Australian Open, was jeered early in the game. A spectator reportedly shouted “Naomi, you suck”, with Osaka complaining to the umpire.

Ritesh Pathak Author

Updated - 14 March 2022 10:29 am

Wins and losses are part and parcel of the game but the least a player expects from the opposition and the spectators is some respect. Naomi Osaka also had the same expectation when she walked out to play against her Russian counterpart Veronika Kudermetova. However, it did not happen that way as one of the spectators heckled the Japanese tennis star during her match.

This hurt Osaka to an extent that she was left in tears. She looked broke at the post-match interview and also during the game. She said that she had been heckled before but receiving it there brought flashbacks. She remembered how the Williams sisters were heckled at the same venue 21 years ago. However, Osaka did not say much and thanked the person who heckled her.

“I just wanted to say thank you, I feel like I cry enough on camera. To be honest, I’ve been heckled before, it doesn’t really bother me, but being heckled here, I watched a video of Venus and Serena getting heckled here, if you’ve never watched it, you should watch it and I don’t know why, but it got into my head and it got replayed a lot,” said Osaka.

What exactly happened?

Osaka, who was playing her first match after bowing out of the Australian Open, was jeered early in the game. A spectator reportedly shouted “Naomi, you suck”, with Osaka complaining to the umpire, and as she went to serve at the start of the third game, she was visibly crying. This clearly affected Osaka as she lost the first set without winning a game, before putting up a better fight in the second.

Although Osaka cited the example of Serena and Venus Williams, she did the complete opposite of that. The Japanese star opted to stay at the court for the interview rather than walking out.

I think it will be good with her: Kudermetova

Osaka received backing from her opponent as Kudermetova called her a ‘strong person’ and hoped the heckling won’t trouble her much. “Naomi was reminded of something that happened with Serena here a few years ago. She started to cry because it is similar to what’s happened with Serena. But it doesn’t matter. I know she’s strong, a great person. I think it will be good with her,” said Kudermetova

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