AceShowbiz - Naomi Osaka got emotional in her first press conference since pulling out of the French Open in May. As a reporter asked an "intimidating" question ahead of her appearance at the Ohio WTA tournament, the tennis pro-player couldn't help but break down in tears.
On Monday, August 16, Naomi was asked by Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty about her relationship with the media. Paul first said, "You're not crazy about dealing with us, especially in this format, yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform."
"I guess my question is, how do you balance the two, and also do you have anything you'd like to share with us about what you did say to Simone Biles?" Paul continued, before clarifying his points twice. In response, Naomi replied, "This is something that I can't really speak for everybody, I can only speak for myself. But ever since I was younger I've had a lot of media interest on me and I think it's because of my background, as well as how I play. Because in the first place I'm a tennis player - that's why a lot of people are interested in me."
"So in that regard, I'm quite different to a lot of people. I can't really help that there are some things that I tweet or that I say that create a lot of news articles… and I know it's because I've won a couple Grand Slams and I've gotten to do a lot of press conferences," the Japanese native further explained. "But I would also say, I'm not really sure how to balance the two. I'm figuring it out at the same time as you are."
Naomi, who previously refused to do any media availability due to mental health reasons, later teared up and wiped her tears with her jacket sleeve. She also covered her face by pulling her hat down. Shortly afterward, the athlete exited the podium for a short break before continuing the interview.
Following the incident, Naomi's agent Stuart Duguid slammed Paul for his "appalling behavior." In a statement released to E! News, Sturart said, "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," the agent added. "And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth-don't be so self-indulgent."
Executive Editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Beryl Love, also addressed the situation. "We appreciate the respectful dialogue with Ms. Osaka at the press conference. It was a straightforward question that we feel led to a meaningful exchange. That said, we sincerely regret that our questioning upset her in any way," Beryl told the outlet.