Tearful Osaka briefly leaves press conference

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On Monday, Naomi Osaka abruptly exited a press conference in Cincinnati after becoming irritated by a line of questioning concerning her relationship with the media, prompting her agent to refer to a reporter as a “bully.” Tearful Osaka briefly leaves press conference.

Osaka withdrew from the French Open earlier this year after being penalized for refusing to conduct press conferences, claiming that particular lines of questioning had harmed her mental health.

A reporter from a Cincinnati daily posed the following question to the 23-year-old on Monday: “Dealing with us isn’t your cup of tea, especially in this format. However, having a media platform serves a variety of outside interests. How do you strike a balance between the two?”

Before giving a comprehensive response, Osaka urged the reporter to clarify his question again and declined the moderator’s suggestion to “move on to the next question.”

“I’ve had a lot of media interest on me since I was younger, and I believe it’s because of my background as well,” said Osaka, who is of Japanese-Haitian descent but grew up primarily in the United States.

“I can’t control it if some of the things I tweet or say end up in a lot of news pieces or something like that… but I’m not sure how to strike a balance between the two. I’d say it’s as if I’m figuring it out at the same moment as you are.”

Osaka attempted to wipe away tears when another reporter inquired about her preparations for the summer hard-court season and her vow to contribute her prize money from this week’s Western & Southern Open to Haitian earthquake relief efforts.

The moderator called a halt to the proceedings, and Osaka walked out of the room for a few moments before returning to finish the news conference.

Osaka’s resignation from the French Open not only led to her confessing that she has battled depression for years, but it also prompted her to withdraw from Roland Garros and Wimbledon for the sake of her mental health.

She struggled to cope with the enormous weight and expectation placed on her after losing early in the Tokyo Games, where she was awarded the honor of lighting the Olympic torch at the opening ceremony.

Stuart Duguid, Osaka’s agent, issued a statement to Reuters on Monday condemning the reporter’s line of questions.

“The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer exemplifies why player-media relations are so tumultuous right now,” Duguid added.

“Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was completely inappropriate, and his primary goal was to intimidate.” This is truly heinous behavior.

“And don’t be so self-indulgent as to suggest Naomi owes her off-court success to the media – it’s a fantasy.”

A request for comment from the reporter was not immediately returned.

Osaka has utilized her position to raise awareness about mental health concerns, and she expressed gratitude to her teammates at the news conference.

“Going to the Olympics and having other athletes come up to me and tell how delighted they were that I did what I did was the biggest eye opener,” she added.

“I’m proud of what I accomplished, and I believe it was a necessary step.”

Source: Reuters

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