Naomi Osaka’s agent slams ‘bully’ reporter’s ‘appalling behaviour’ during press conference

Naomi Osaka looking down

Naomi Osaka’s agent has lambasted a reporter over his “appalling behaviour” during a Cincinnati Masters press conference that led to the four-time Grand Slam winner tearing up and briefly leaving the room.

Speaking to the media for the first time since pulling out of the French Open in May after opting not to do the mandatory tennis press conferences in order to protect her mental health, Osaka took a few questions before Paul Daugherty from the Cincinnati Enquirer asked his question via Zoom.

“You’re not especially fond of dealing with the media, especially in this format,” Daugherty started.

“You’ve suggested there are better ways to do it. You also have outside interests, beyond tennis, that are served by having a platform that the media presents to you.

“How do you think you might be able to best balance the two?”

Osaka asked the reporter to clarify his question and after the moderator offered to “move on to the next question”, she gave a full reply.

Naomi Osaka breaks down during Cincinnati press conference as she resumes media duties

She then appeared to wipe away tears during the next question and briefly left the room before returning to complete the press conference.

Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, slammed the reporter in a press statement.

“The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player/media relations are so fraught right now,” he told Reuters.

“Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behaviour.

“And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth – don’t be so self-indulgent.”