Rafael Nadal on Naomi Osaka heckling: ‘I feel sorry for her, but we need to be ready for adversities’

Tennis News
Naomi Osaka talks to the media

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev are the latest players to have their say on heckling at tennis matches after Naomi Osaka was reduced to tears with both admitting that it is sadly part and parcel of sport.

Osaka made a second-round exit from the BNP Paribas Open over the weekend, but she was seen wiping away tears after a spectator shouted “Naomi, you suck!” during the early stages of her match against Veronika Kudermetova.

The Japanese star complained to the umpire and after the defeat she admitted that it reminded her of 2001 when Venus and Serena Williams were booed at the Indian Wells tournament.

Several players have been asked for the opinions about heckling since the incident and 21-time Grand Slam winner Nadal had his say.

“These kind of questions are tough to answer because in some way, I mean, the easy answer for me is I feel terrible about what happened, that never should happen,” the Spaniard said.

“The real thing, in the real world, that happens, you know? I feel very sorry for her. We are having, in my opinion, a great life. We are very lucky people that we’re able to enjoy amazing experiences because of our life, because we are tennis players. We make money.

“Even if is terrible to hear from that, we need to be prepared for that. We need to resist these kind of issues that can happen when you are exposed to the people. At the same time, as we like a lot when the people are supporting, when something like this happens, we need to accept and move forward.

“I understand that probably Naomi, she suffered a lot with his probably kind of issues that she has, mental issues. The only thing that I wish her is recover well from that and wish her all the very best. But the life, nothing is perfect in this life. We need to be ready for adversities.”

Medvedev had problems with the Melbourne Park crowd during his Australian Open final defeat at the hands of Nadal in January so he knows how Osaka feels.

The US Open champion, though, says players “should be ready for everything”.

“I didn’t see it by my own eyes, and I didn’t watch the videos after, so I just heard it from someone who heard from someone, so I don’t want to go too much into it because I didn’t see actually what happened,” he said.

“It’s tough for everybody because I can feel for Naomi. I mean, I felt not great in Australia. I can feel the fans that maybe going to say, what the hell? You know they’re getting millions. They should be ready for everything.

“At the same time we’re humans. We all make mistakes, good decisions. Sometimes we feel bad. Sometimes we feel good. So basically I can understand that Naomi didn’t feel that great when she heard it and I can completely understand her feelings.

“But I didn’t really see it with my own eyes, so I don’t have much to say. Yeah. Life would be easier if everybody would be calm and not angry, but same, even talking about me, I get angry, so I should be better also.”

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