Naomi Osaka’s comeback press conference was a tearful disaster

Wilson Blade 9

Naomi Osaka‘s first press conference after a two-and-a-half-month-long avoidance of journalists did not go without tears. Talking to the media ahead of the Western & Southern Open, the tennis star calmly answered the first few questions, but things went out of hand when one local reporter used a rude tone to ask a question about the media boycott period.

Naomi Osaka of Japan talks to the media ahead of the 2021 Western & Southern Open WTA 1000 tennis tournament

On May 31, Osaka shocked the world by withdrawing from the French Open for the reason of not feeling mentally fit to take part in mandatory press conferences. After weeks of secluding herself from tennis journalists, the 23-year-old was faced with the tough side of her job on Monday in Cincinnati. It looks like the four-time Grand Slam champion is not ready yet.

Sporting the NJC Fleece Top from her own Nike collection, Osaka showed up at the Western & Southern Open press conference and everything was running smoothly in the beginning. Then a Cincinnati Enquirer journalist, as Ben Rothenberg reports, used a harsh tone to ask “how she benefits from a high-media profile but doesn’t like talking to media”. Osaka contained herself and answered the question, but eventually broke down in tears, hiding her face behind her cap. 

The presser was then paused, as Osaka was wiping tears from her eyes. The WTA player’s chat with the media was later resumed and in the end she answered a few questions in Japanese.

Our Jimmie48 is in Cincinnati and we have photos from Osaka’s practice on Sunday. Here we can see her training with coach Wim Fissette. She was also signing autographs for fans courtside.

Osaka, whose father is from Haiti, will donate all her Western & Southern Open prize money to Haiti earthquake relief.

After a first-round bye, Osaka’s opponent at the Western & Southern Open will be the winner of the match between Coco Gauff and Hsieh Su-Wei.


  1. Hmm there is a problem here. I’m sympathetic to her situation, she is still very young, but the reality is that being a high-earning tennis star means you have to deal with the media and if she can’t handle it then she may have to do something else. Or get better psychological help. And that kind of question was inevitable and they shouldn’t have let her be exposed to the media until they knew she could handle it.
    Seems like it’s the same story over and over with these young players. Too much pressure and interest and expectation and they are not psychologically mature enough to deal with it. So maybe at all these tennis academies etc where these young girls are trained there should be a much bigger component on psychological development. And on dealing with pressure.

  2. Dramatic headline, lol. She answered questions, stepped away during the 4 minute break between language sessions to compose herself and then came back. Of note, there was a question about Haiti before the break. Could that have made her emotional?

  3. Sherry Williams, from what I understand, her distress at the moment wasn’t related to Haiti, but to her lack of readiness to handle some people.


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