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Heckler brings Naomi Osaka to tears during game in Indian Wells

A woman in the crowd at the BNP Paribas Open shouted “Naomi, you suck!” to Naomi Osaka after the opener of her match on Saturday night. The comment brought the four-time Grand Slam champion to tears on center court at Indian Garden Tennis in Wells.

Fans around the woman shouted for the woman to be removed, Tennis Channel commentators said, but the referee said the woman could not be identified and the match resumed.

During a break in play, after the second match, the Japanese tennis star asked the referee for a microphone to address the crowd.

“Can I borrow your microphone?” Osaka asked the chair umpire.

“What do you mean?” replied the referee.

“I just want to say something,” Osaka replied. “I’m not going to swear. I’m not swearing. It just weighs on my heart.”

The referee spoke to his supervisor, who ultimately denied the request, telling Osaka that a player taking the microphone mid-game is unprecedented. Most of the conversation was inaudible, but the video replay of the conversation clearly captures the supervisor saying, again, we’ll find him.”

Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a shot at Veronika Kudermetova of Russia during the second round of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., on Saturday March 12, 2022.

Continued:BNP Paribas Open: Leylah Fernandez saves four match points to survive Amanda Anisimova in bizarre ending

The comment rocked Osaka, who quickly fell behind on two breaks and lost the first set 6-0 to Russian Veronika Kudermetova. Osaka, who was born in Japan but raised in the United States, fought back in the second set before falling to Kudermetova, 6-0, 6-4.

After the game, Osaka asked to speak to the crowd, which usually doesn’t happen when a player loses a game.

“To be honest, I’ve been heckled before,” Osaka said as she choked up. “It didn’t really bother me. But heckled here, like, I watched a video of Venus and Serena (Williams) getting heckled here, and if you’ve never watched it, you should watch it. I don’t know why, but it popped into my head and I replayed a lot.

Naomi Osaka of Japan addresses the crowd for being heckled during her match against Veronika Kudermetova of Russia in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., on Saturday March 12, 2022.

Osaka, 24, was referring to an ugly, if brief, part of Indian Wells tournament history when fans booed Serena Williams as she won the tournament in 2001. face in the semi-finals that year, but Venus pulled out with an injury just before the match, which upset some fans who didn’t believe the injury was legitimate.

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