'Need to be prepared': Rafa Nadal responds to 'terrible' Osaka drama

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Rafa Nadal (pictured left) during a press conference at Indian Wells and (pictured right) Naomi Osaka in tears during her match.
Rafa Nadal (pictured left) weighed-in on the drama surrounding Naomi Osaka (pictured right) at Indian Wells. (Images: Indian Wells/Getty Images)

Rafa Nadal has weighed-in on the drama surrounding Naomi Osaka and her exit at Indian Wells after a heckler brought her to tears during a match.

Drama ensued at Indian Wells when when someone in the crowd repeatedly yelled "Naomi, you suck", at the Japanese star.

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After falling 0-3 down her emotions spilled over and Osaka was reduced to tears as she sat court side.

Osaka then approached the chair umpire and asked if she could address the fan over the microphone, but her request was denied.

The 24-year-old quickly pulled herself together and resumed the match, and even though she raised her game in the second set she could find no answer for Veronika Kudermetova and bowed out 6-0, 6-4.

Following the match, Osaka explained that she hasn't been bothered by hecklers in the past, but this time it was different.

Many fans took to social media and labelled the behaviour 'shameful'.

On Monday, Andy Murray responded to a question and said he sympathised with Osaka and said the behaviour shouldn't occur in tennis.

However, Murray admitted you do have to be prepared for such heckling as a high-profile athlete.

Rafa Nadal responds to Naomi Osaka incident

And since Nadal's victory over Dan Evans in the Round of 64, the Spaniard was asked about the drama at Indian Wells.

Nadal said it was a difficult question to answer and felt 'terrible' for Osaka after the scenes unfolded.

But, the Spaniard echoed Murray's sentiment that unfortunately such behaviour can be part of their sport.

“The easy answer for me is I feel terrible about what happened, that never should happen,” Nadal said in his post-match press conference at Indian Wells.

Rafael Nadal (pictured) speaking to the media at Indian Wells.
Rafael Nadal (pictured) weighed-in on the Naomi Osaka drama at the Indian Wells. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

“Even if is terrible to hear from that, we need to be prepared for that, no?

“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, no?

“We need to resist these kind of issues that can happen when you are exposed to the people, no?"

Nadal wished Osaka the best and said he hoped she recovered from the incident.

“I understand that probably Naomi, suffered a lot with these, probably kind of issues that she has, mental (health) 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, no? We need to be ready for adversities.”

Naomi Osaka (pictured) addresses the crowd after losing to Veronika Kudermetova at Indian Wells.
Naomi Osaka (pictured) was upset following her Indian Wells match after a member of the crowd heckled her. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Speaking on court after the match, Osaka said it wasn't that she found the comment so hurtful but because she was reminded of how Venus and Serena Williams were targeted at Indian Wells in 2001.

After Venus withdrew from her scheduled semi-final against Serena with a knee injury, the crowd booed Venus and father Richard when they took their seats to watch the final.

Fans jeered Serena as the match went on, while Richard said he was the target of racial slurs.

The Williams sisters famously boycotted Indian Wells for 14 years after the incident, only returning to the California tournament in recent years.

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