While speaking with reporters at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, Osaka discussed a few topics that relate to mental health. But after getting into an exchange with Paul Daugherty from the Cincinnati Enquirer, the 23-year-old tennis champion started to get emotional and teared up on the podium, prompting the moderator to pause the conference.
Only a few moments into the event, Daugherty asked Osaka to address her relationship with the media. After asking him to repeat the question for clarity, she paused and then responded, "I feel like this is something that I can’t really speak for everybody. I can only speak for myself, but ever since I was younger, I’ve had a lot of media interest on me, and I think it’s because of my background as well as how I play. Because in the first place I’m a tennis player. That’s why a lot of people are interested in me."
She continued, "I would say in that regard, I’m quite different to a lot of people. I can’t really help that there are some things that I tweet or some things that I say that kind of create a lot of news articles or things like that. I know it’s because I’ve won a couple grand slams, and I’ve gotten to do a lot of press conferences where these things happen. But I would also say I’m not really sure how to balance the two. I’m figuring it out at the same time as you are, I would say."
Shortly after giving her answer, the athlete was seen pulling down her hat and wiping her eyes as the next reporter started to ask her about tennis and the devastating earthquake in Haiti. After Osaka took a few deep breaths, the moderator decided to pause the event, which gave her a chance to regain her composure before finishing the session.
According to Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, Daugherty’s tone seemed inappropriate. He said, "Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong, and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behavior."
Still, despite the awkward exchange, Osaka defended her decision to take a needed break from the media. During the conference, she revealed, "The biggest eye-opener was going to the Olympics and having other athletes come up to me and say they were really glad that I did what I did. I’m proud of what I did, and I think that it was something that needed to be done."
Spoken like a true legend.
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