Naomi Osaka‘s first press conference since her French Open controversy did not go well … the tennis superstar broke down in tears and needed a break after a media member reportedly asked her an “aggressively toned question.”
Osaka — who pulled out of the French Open back in May after she was fined for skipping post-match media sessions — fielded several questions Monday ahead of her appearance at the Western & Southern Open in Ohio, before everything got derailed.
According to tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg, a media member asked Osaka “a fairly aggressively toned question about how she benefits from a high-media profile but doesn’t like talking to media.”
That’s when Osaka began to cry.
She wiped away tears with her jacket sleeve, pulled her hat down over her face … and eventually needed to step away from the podium.
Rothenberg reports Osaka did come back to finish off the press conference … but added, “the aggressive tone from an unfamiliar person, after Naomi had already spoken in an earlier answer about how that’s what she finds difficult in press conferences, got things going completely awry.”
Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, slammed the reporter in a statement following the presser … saying, “The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player / media relations are so fraught right now.”
“Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behavior.”
Duguid added, “And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth – don’t be so self-indulgent.”
As we previously reported, Osaka said she did not want to do media sessions during the French Open due to mental health issues, and later revealed she’s battled “long bouts of depression” the past few years.
Osaka took a break from major tennis events following the pull-out, though she did ultimately return for this month’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.