Ex-world No. 1 Andy Murray says Naomi Osaka must learn to deal with hecklers after she was brought to tears by a spectator
Naomi Osakacried after a spectator yelled "You suck!" at her at the Indian Wells Masters.
- Ex-world number one
Andy Murraysays the Japanese star must learn to deal with such criticism better.
The former Wimbledon and US Open champion Andy Murray has said Naomi Osaka must learn to deal with hecklers after she was brought to tears by someone yelling at her at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Saturday.
Osaka cried after a spectator in the stands shouted "Naomi, you suck!" at her during the first set of her second round 6-0, 6-4 defeat to Veronika Kudermetova. Osaka asked for the spectator to be removed after the incident, but it does not appear that they were taken out of the arena.
She wept again at the end of the match, saying in her on-court interview that the incident reminded her of when Venus and Serena Williams were heckled at the same tournament in 2001, which led them to boycott the event for more than a decade.
"It's a difficult one," Murray, a three-time Grand Slam winner and former world number one, told reporters when asked about the incident after his second-round defeat to Alexander Bublik on Sunday.
"I've often thought watching certain
Murray went on to note that abusing someone in such a manner in a regular workplace would be completely unacceptable.
The Scot added: "But it's also something that's always just kind of been part of sports as well.
"If you go and watch a basketball match, for example, and a player's taking free throws, I would say like almost every basketball match I've been to one of the players has been heckled by the crowd as well, and whilst it is wrong for those individuals to be doing it, the athletes obviously have to kind of be used to that as well or be able to deal with that too, even though it's not pleasant.
""So, obviously I feel for Naomi, that obviously it upset her a lot, but it's always been something that's been part of sport as well.
"So you have to be prepared for that in some ways and be able to tolerate it because it does happen regularly across all sports."
Osaka withdrew from the 2021 French Open for mental health reasons before deciding to take an "indefinite break" from tennis after her third round defeat at the 2021 US Open, saying that the sport no longer made her happy.
"Recently, like, when I win, I don't feel happy. I feel more like a relief," she said. "And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don't think that's normal."
She returned to the court in January 2022, but has since been unable to recapture the form that saw her win four Grand Slam titles. She has dropped to 78th in the WTA world rankings as of Monday.
After crashing out in the third round of the 2021 Australian Open, Osaka told reporters that she was deleting social media "for a couple of weeks" to protect her mental health.
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