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Naomi Osaka receives support after fan reduces her to tears during tennis match

APTOPIX Indian Wells Tennis
Posted at 11:15 AM, Mar 14, 2022

Naomi Osaka is getting support from the tennis community following an incident that reduced her to tears during the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.

Osaka was playing in a second-round match when she was heckled by a fan, who criticized her performance. The fan's comments caused Osaka to burst into tears.

Former women's tennis player Pam Shriver reportedly said on the Tennis Channel,"Fans can be brutal sometimes and they can be mean, but in an individual sport like tennis, it affects players differently, and I just hope that it doesn't set her back to not wanting to play again."

When asked about the incident, men's tennis player Andy Murray said he felt sorry for Osaka.

Osaka said the heckling made her think of Venus and Serena Williams. After Venus withdrew from the same tournament in 2001, their father said Serena was subjected to racial slurs.

"To be honest, I've gotten heckled before," Osaka said after losing her match on Saturday. "Like, it didn't really bother me, but heckled here?"

The fan who heckled Osaka was not heard mentioning the Japanese tennis player's race.

Still, Osaka has been open about her struggles with mental health. Last year, she withdrew from the French Open due to mental health issues. She also took a break from tennis after losing in the U.S. Open.

Osaka is scheduled to compete in next week's Miami Open.