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Naomi Osaka Broke Down In Tears And Asked The Umpire For The Microphone When A Fan Heckled Her Mid-Match

By Gina Florio··  2 min read
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Naomi Osaka heckler
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Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka had a tough weekend at Indian Wells, a tennis tournament in Southern California. She encountered a heckler who brought her to tears while playing against Russian Veronika Kudermetova.

Naomi Osaka is known to wear her emotions on her sleeve. She has spoken many times about her mental health, opting out of tournaments and refusing to participate in press conferences because of it. This weekend she proved that she was mentally unable to handle the pressure at Indian Wells.

A Heckler Screamed "You Suck!" at Naomi Osaka

As Kudermetova was about to serve to Osaka, one fan yelled, "Naomi, you suck!" Tennis is a sport that values etiquette so it's not common for insults like this to be hurled at players, but it certainly isn't unheard of. Osaka was clearly affected by the heckler, so much so that she went over to the chair umpire to discuss the incident.

Osaka broke down in tears and had a tough time getting back into her rhythm. At one point she even went over to the chair umpire and asked for the microphone so she could address the audience, especially the heckler. Of course the umpire refused because it's unheard of to allow a player to speak to the audience mid-match. Osaka continued to cry.

She went on to lose the match in straight sets, 0-6, 4-6. Osaka addressed the crowd after the match was over; it's very unusual to see the loser give an interview this early on in the tournament. She began crying yet again as she spoke into the microphone.

"I just wanted to say thank you," she said through the tears. "I just wanted to say... um... to be honest, I've gotten heckled before, it didn't really bother me, heckled here... I watched a video of Serena and Venus getting heckled here... I don't know why but it went into my head and it got replayed a lot. I'm trying not to cry, but I just wanted to say thank you and congratulations."

When you're a professional athlete, getting heckled is just par for the course, and mental fortitude is just as important as physical strength. Osaka has made herself out to be the victim on so many occasions that it's hard to feel bad for her anymore. If you can't handle a single fan telling you that you suck, perhaps it's time to reconsider your career as a professional athlete.

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