Naomi Osaka was brought to tears after being heckled by a spectator during her second-round loss to Veronika Kudermetova at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.
An Indian Wells onlooker yelled, “Naomi, you suck,” early on in Osaka’s 6-0, 6-4 defeat, causing the tennis star to become visually emotional on the court.
Following the match, Osaka stayed on the court to address the fans during her post-game interview.
“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.
"I just wanted to say thank you." 😍 - @naomiosaka | @BNPPARIBASOPEN | #IndianWells pic.twitter.com/mPpm2Vdzml— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) March 13, 2022
"I just wanted to say thank you." 😍 - @naomiosaka | @BNPPARIBASOPEN | #IndianWells pic.twitter.com/mPpm2Vdzml
The Williams sisters boycotted the event for over a decade, starting in 2001 after receiving abuse from fans during the tournament.
Osaka has been outspoken about her mental health struggles and the pressures of the spotlight, withdrawing from the French Open and Wimbledon last season. The 24-year-old returned to the U.S. Open but took another brief hiatus from the court before returning to the Tour.
Osaka is currently ranked No. 78 in the world and was unseeded entering Indian Wells.