Naomi Osaka reduced to tears during Cincinnati news conference

Cincinnati, Ohio – Naomi Osaka was reduced to tears on Monday in her first WTA Tour news conference since snubbing the media at the French Open.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka agreed to speak with the press in Cincinnati before the WTA Tour.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka agreed to speak with the press in Cincinnati before the WTA Tour.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Osaka withdrew from the second grand slam of the year at Roland Garros almost three months ago after declaring she would not fulfill press conference duties during the tournament.

The four-time major champion cited mental health concerns for reaching that decision and skipped Wimbledon before returning to action at the Tokyo Olympics on home soil.

Osaka, who revealed in Paris she had suffered "long bouts of depression" since winning the US Open in 2018, agreed to speak to the press as she prepares return to the WTA Tour at the Western and Southern in Cincinnati this week.

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The world number two was emotional after being asked how she benefits from a high-media profile but does not like talking to media.

Osaka spoke on her relationship with the media

Naomi Osaka hits the court to practice for the 2021 Western & Southern Open WTA.
Naomi Osaka hits the court to practice for the 2021 Western & Southern Open WTA.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Osaka answered the question from the journalist, but the video call was paused as she cried before later resuming the press conference.

She said before pausing: "That's interesting: I would say the occasion, when to do the press conferences is what I feel is the most difficult."

"I'm actually very interested in that point of view. For me I feel this is something I can't really speak for everybody, I can only speak for myself."

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"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, which is why a lot of people are interested in me. So I would say in that regard I'm quite different to a lot of people, and I can't really help that there are some things I tweet or say that create a lot of news articles or things like that."

"But I would also say, I'm not really sure how to balance it too, I'm figuring it out at the same time as you are, I would say."

Osaka then broke down while the next question was being put to her, but was able to continue.

The 23-year-old was given a first-round bye in what will be her first WTA tournament since the French Open.

Osaka, whose father is from Haiti, has announced that she will donate any prize money she receives from the tournament to Haiti relief efforts following Saturday's devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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