Emotional Naomi Osaka admits life in limelight is tough, reveals online abuse

Shahida Jacobs
Naomi Osaka frustrated

She is one of the biggest stars in world tennis at the moment, but a tearful Naomi Osaka admitted after her exit from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships that life in the spotlight has been a “little tough”.

Playing in her first match since winning the Australian Open and becoming world No 1 for the first time, Osaka was all over the place as she suffered a 6-3, 6-3 defeat at the hands of Kristina Mladenovic.

That defeat also came on the back of her split with her coach Sascha Bajin.

The 21-year-old has been forced to deny reports that her decision to part company with Bajin was money-related and she conceded that the spotlight has taken its toll.

When asked if she could block out the attention, she replied: “I mean, I couldn’t. That’s the result. This match is the result of that.

“I’m pretty sure, like, you guys – no offense to you guys – but I’m pretty sure as time goes on you guys will stop talking about it. For now, it’s like the biggest tennis news, I guess.

“See, it’s a little bit hard because I feel like people are staring at me, and not like in a good way.”

And it’s not just the attention from the Bajin situation as her surge into the limelight has also been difficult to deal with.

“I don’t think I necessarily understand what position I’m in in a way,” she said.

“And because last year I wasn’t even anywhere close to this ranking and people didn’t pay attention to me and that’s something that I’m comfortable with.

“I don’t know why I’m crying,” she said continued. “I don’t know why this is happening. I don’t really like the attention, so yeah, it’s been a little tough.”

Then there is the issue of social media abuse as she posted an Instagram Story with one person saying “I wish you get a terrible injury”.

Another one added: “I wish you get terrible injury scum and you disabled without legs.”

She took it in her stride with a caption: “Everytime without fail.”

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