Naomi Osaka breaks down in tears following ‘appalling’ press conference question

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Naomi Osaka broke down in tears following a question during her first WTA press conference since withdrawing from the French Open to focus on her mental health.

Ahead of her appearance at the Western and Southern Open in Ohio, Osaka was asked, non-verbatim, “how she benefits from a high-media profile but doesn’t like talking to media,” according to tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg.

The tone of the question was “all wrong and (the reporter’s) sole purpose was to intimidate,” Osaaka’s agent Stuart Duguid said in a statement, according to TMZ.

Osaka began to cry in response to the question, wiping tears away and pulling her hat down over her face before stepping away from the podium to collect herself.

The 23-year-old later returned to finish the press conference.

“The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player / media relations are so fraught right now,” Duguid said. “Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behavior.

Naomi Osaka during her press conference Monday.
Rob Prange/Shutterstock

“And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth – don’t be so self-indulgent.”

Osaka sparked a discussion regarding athletes’ mental health after pulling out of the French Open in July following fines for skipping post-match media sessions and

Osaka, who took a break from major tennis events before returning to compete for Japan at the Tokyo Olympics this summer, revealed that she had battled depression the past few years.

Osaka did speak with reporters at the Olympics, as well.

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