Naomi Osaka Press Conference Ends in Tears

Agent slams 'bully' reporter who asked question on media relations
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2021 7:33 AM CDT
Naomi Osaka's Agent Slams Reporter Who Made Her Cry
Naomi Osaka, of Japan, reacts after losing a point to Marketa Vondrousova, of the Czech Republic, during the third round of the tennis competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo on July 27.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Naomi Osaka faced one of her first press conferences since withdrawing from the French Open and Wimbledon on Monday and ended up walking away in tears. Ahead of a tournament in Cincinnati, Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Paul Daugherty virtually asked Osaka about her relationship with the media. "You're not crazy about dealing with us, especially in this format, yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform," he began, per Fox Sports. "How do you balance the two?" Osaka responded that it was the timing of press conferences that was the issue. After some deliberation, she added, "I'm not really sure how to balance the two, like I'm figuring it out at the same time you are." The four-time Grand Slam champion then began to cry and soon exited.

Hear the full exchange here. In the aftermath, Osaka's agent, Stuart Duguid, said Daugherty was a "bully" and "the epitome of why player / media relations are so fraught right now," per E! "Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behavior," he added. Though New York Times reporter Ben Rothenberg had described Daugherty's question as "fairly aggressively toned," Enquirer Executive Editor Beryl Love said "it was a straightforward question that we feel led to a meaningful exchange. That said, we sincerely regret that our questioning upset her in any way." Daugherty later described Osaka's response as "honest, thoughtful. . . and unlike any answer I've ever gotten in 34 years covering sports in Cincinnati." (More Naomi Osaka stories.)

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