Naomi Osaka brought to tears by heckler

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 12: Naomi Osaka of Japan walks off the court after losing to Veronika Kudermetova of Russia during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 12, 2022 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka is out of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. (Photograph by Matthew Stockman/Getty Photos)

A BNP Paribas Open match between Naomi Osaka and Veronika Kudermetova at Indian Wells was disrupted late Saturday night time after the phrases of 1 heckler lower via the stadium.

“Naomi, you suck.”

Whereas not misplaced from heckles that almost all outstanding athletes will inevitably hear of their careers, the phrases clearly had an impact on Osaka. The remainder of the group rapidly booed the heckler and match was briefly halted whereas the four-time Grand Slam champion requested the chair umpire if the fan could possibly be ejected.

Osaka was later seen in tears between video games. In the course of the break in play, Osaka asked the umpire if she could borrow her microphone to address the crowd. The request was denied.

Osaka, who has been greater than clear about her struggles with psychological well being as knowledgeable tennis participant, struggled for the remainder of the match.

The 24-year-old Kudermetova, ranked No. 24 by the WTA, hung a donut on the previous world No. 1 within the first set, and ultimately notched a 6-0, 6-4 win, persevering with a stretch of among the finest tennis of her profession. She is going to advance to face Marie Bouzkova within the spherical of 32.

Naomi Osaka explains how heckler reminded her of Venus and Serena

After the match, Osaka was allowed to speak to the crowd, one thing not typically seen when a participant loses. She defined that whereas she had been heckled earlier than, the Indian Wells setting made her recall the expertise of Venus and Serena Williams on the similar match a long time earlier:

“To be trustworthy, I’ve gotten heckled earlier than, it did not actually hassle me. It is heckled right here, I’ve watched a video of Venus and Serena getting heckled right here, and in case you’ve by no means watched it, you need to watch it. I do not know why, it went into my head and it bought replayed lots. I am making an attempt to not cry. I simply needed to say thanks and congratulations.”

The video Osaka mentions undoubtedly comes from the Williams sisters’ controversy in 2001. After shedding to Venus within the quarterfinals, Russian participant Elena Dementieva accused the sisters’ father Richard of fixing matches between his daughters. Quickly after, Venus pulled out of the match shortly earlier than she was imagined to play Serena within the semifinals, citing tendinitis.

The end result was a closing between Serena and Kim Clijsters during which the Williams household was raucously booed. Richard later claimed the family heard racial slurs from the predominantly white crowd.

The incident left an unpleasant mark on Indian Wells, extensively considered the most important non-Grand Slam tennis match on this planet. Serena would later say it was the darkest second of her profession, per the Palm Springs Desert Sun.

The Williams sisters wouldn’t play there till Serena entered the sector in 2015, with Venus becoming a member of a 12 months after. Although they ultimately made their peace, the story apparently caught with Osaka, who grew up idolizing Serena.

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