Naomi Osaka was reduced to tears, and briefly halted her first press conference since the French Open.
The four-time Grand Slam-winner was speaking ahead of the Western & Southern Open which gets underway this week in Ohio.
It was the first time Osaka had faced the media since her decision to withdraw from press conferences at the French Open on mental health grounds. She subsequently withdrew from Roland-Garros, and Wimbledon, before reappearing at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
According to tennis writer Ben Rothernburg, four questions into the press conference, "someone [Paul Daugherty] from Cincinnati Enquirer asked her a fairly aggressively toned question about how she benefits from a high-media profile but doesn't like talking to media.
Four Qs or so went smoothly, Naomi was doing well.
Then someone from Cincinnati Enquirer asked her a fairly aggressively toned question about how she benefits from a high-media profile but doesn't like talking to media. Osaka tried to engage, but after her answer began crying.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 16, 2021
"Osaka tried to engage, but after her answer began crying."
The 23-year old left the room for a short time, before returning and answering questions for both English and Japanese-speaking reporters.
In pulling out of the French Open, Osaka revealed her four-year long battle with depression.
Prior to the press conference, she'd announced she will be donating her prize money from the Western & Southern Open to relief efforts in Haiti, after an earthquake devastated the island over the weekend.
"Really hurts to see all the devastation that's going on in Haiti, and I feel like we really can't catch a break," she said at the weekend.
"I'm about to play a tournament this week and I'll give all the prize money to relief efforts for Haiti. I know our ancestors blood is strong we'll keep rising."
Addressing the incident with Daugherty today, Osaka's agent Stuart Duguid said, "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 [sic].
"And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off court success to the media is a myth – don’t be so self-indulgent."
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