The Women’s Tennis Association has ranked Naomi Osaka No. 1 in singles, making her the first Asian woman to do so. However, Naomi Osaka was subjected to a derogatory remark during her second-round loss on Sunday.
TMZ reports Naomi was competing against Veronika Kudermetova in the Indian Wells Tourney outside of Palm Springs. This is when a woman in the stands yelled, “Naomi, you suck!” Naomi was rattled by the fans who began yelling at her.
Naomi was down 3-0 in the first set when she urged the umpire to let her take the mic and address the crowd, promising, “I just want to say something. I’m not going to curse. I don’t curse. It’s just weighing on my heart.”
Officials refused to comply but vowed to evict the heckler if she tried it again. Naomi was too late, and she lost the first set 6-0 and the second 6-4. Naomi asked again after losing, and this time she got the microphone.
“To be honest, I’ve been heckled before. It didn’t really bother me. But heckled here, like, I’ve watched a video of Venus and Serena get heckled here, and if you’ve never watched it, you should watch it. I don’t know why, but it went into my head and got replayed a lot.”
Notably, the incident Osaka was referring to occurred in 2001, when Serena and Venus Williams were heckled by the Indian Wells crowd. Venus withdrew from her planned semifinal against Serena shortly before the match began due to a knee injury. The crowd began heckling when Venus and her father Richard took their seats to watch Serena in the final against Kim Clijsters. As the match progressed, fans booed Serena.
This is a sad story and an example of how one should never act as a spectator at a sporting event, for sure.
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