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Naomi Osaka Breaks Down In Tears During First Press Conference Back, Did Reporter Go Too Far?

We told you yesterday that Naomi Osaka pledged to give whatever prize money she earns at the Western & Southern Open to the Haitian relief effort after the devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

A nice gesture and continued proof that Osaka has a big heart, but with that big heart comes big emotions.

As most of you know, Osaka and press conferences don’t go well together. She withdrew from the French Open after being fined $15,000 for skipping news conferences, which she said were not conducive for her mental health.

In June, she revealed she’s been suffering from “long bouts of depression” since winning her first major tournament three years ago.

So everyone was waiting to see what her press conference at the Western & Southern Open would be like. And sadly, it ended in tears. During the press event, a Cincinnati reporter named Paul Daugherty asked Osaka this question…

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?

Osaka then asked the reporter to clarify himself, and when he did, she tried to answer his question, but eventually broke down in tears.

Ever since I was younger I had a lot of media interest on me because of my background, as well as how I play … I can’t really help that I tweet or that I say that kind of create a lot of news articles … and I know it’s because I won a couple Grand Slams and I’ve gotten to do a lot of press conferences. I’m not really sure how to balance the two.

People are having mixed reactions to this. Some people are taking the tough love approach, saying she needs to toughen up because that wasn’t a difficult question.

Others are more sympathetic to the tennis star and her mental health struggles.

And then there is Osaka’s agent, who is going 100% in on the reporter, basically calling him a bully. He claims the reporter’s sole purpose was to intimidate.

This insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth — don’t be so self-indulgent. 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.

Yikes. Drama. They gonna start some drama.

Personally? I don’t think the question was especially tough, but at the same time, I don’t think an athlete should be required to do press conferences. The media feels entitled, but the athletes don’t owe us anything. They perform on the field/court. That’s their job.