On Monday (August 16), Naomi Osaka took part in her first press conference since withdrawing from the French Open back in May, after citing mental health concerns. Today’s encounter with media certainly did not help, as the 23-year-old tennis star broke down in tears, requiring a moment to herself following an “aggressively toned question” by a member of the press.
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The conference came just ahead of her appearance at the Western & Southern Open in Ohio.
Though the question that rattled Osaka was not shown in the video, reporter Ben Rothenberg said that things started off fine enough, until an individual representing the Cincinnati Enquirer asked Osaka “how she benefits from a high-media profile but doesn’t like talking to media.”
Osaka, who has only recently opened up about her struggles with depression and the pressure of public scrutiny, began to cry soon after.
TMZ reports that Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, bashed the reporter for a lack of decency.
“The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player / media relations are so fraught right now.” Duguid said. “Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behavior.”
He added, “And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth – don’t be so self-indulgent.”
Check out the video below:
The sports phenom previously offered insight into her depression by way of an Instagram post, saying it all started after defeating Serena Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open. The lively crowd had been quite vocal about their support of her opponent.
“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Ms. Osaka said in the post.
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