Naomi Osaka in ugly spat with Piers Morgan over photoshoot

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·Sports Reporter
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Media commentator Piers Morgan (pictured left) on the red carpet and (pictured right) Naomi Osaka on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.
Outspoken media figure Piers Morgan (pictured left) joined a number of conservative commentators in taking digs at Naomi Osaka (pictured right) after her Sports Illustrated swimsuit appearance. (Images: Getty Images/Sports Illustrated)

Naomi Osaka has entered into a Twitter spat with conservative commentator Megan Kelly and blocked Piers Morgan after the pair took a dig at the tennis star over her latest magazine feature.

Osaka made history after becoming the first Japanese and Haitian woman to appear on the front cover of Sports Illustrated in a swimsuit photoshoot.

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The World No.2, who is representing Japan at the Tokyo Olympics, proudly posted the cover on her social media.

But the move attracted detractors who took aim at the Australian Open champ for appearing in the media, despite her recent break from the spotlight.

Osaka recently took time away from the game, withdrawing from the French Open and skipping Wimbledon, on mental health grounds.

In the break, the wildly popular and successful athlete has announced a collaboration with Barbie for her 'Role Model' doll, had a Netflix mini-series released about her and appeared on Vogue, Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

All these media engagements would have been months in the work and the timing of release pre-planned.

But conservative pundits Megan Kelly and sports pundit Clay Travis took digs at the World No.2 suggesting she was being 'hypocritical' after appearing in the media during her break.

"Since saying she's too introverted to talk to the media after tennis matches, Naomi Osaka has launched a reality show, a Barbie, and now is on the cover of the SI swimsuit issue," Travis tweeted.

Kelly weighed-in on Travis' comment and pointed out her other magazine appearances, while Morgan echoed their remarks.

However, in a now-deleted tweet, Osaka hit back at Kelly and slammed her for not doing her 'research' and for 'spewing negativity'.

"Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year," Osaka wrote.

"Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan," Osaka said.

But after she appeared to block Kelly, the commentator continued her attack and Morgan also weighed-in and said he had been blocked as well.

Despite the remarks, a number of supporters - including tennis great Martina Navratilova - jumped to the defence of Osaka.

Kelly, a former Fox News pundit, recently made headlines on her podcast SiriusXM for appearing to downplay the storming of the US Capitol.

She claimed the media made the attack "much worse than it actually was".

Megyn Kelly (pictured) speaks onstage at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in 2018.
Megyn Kelly (pictuered) hit out Naomi Osaka after the tennis star's Sports Illustrated appearance. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Fortune)

Piers Morgan calls out Naomi Osaka over tennis stance

It isn't the first time Morgan has taken a dig at Osaka.

Morgan accused Naomi Osaka of using the "Meghan and Harry playbook" in a controversial rant that sparked backlash from tennis fans and the wider community in June.

The divisive British TV personality has been a fierce critic of Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle, and dragged the royal couple into the Osaka saga this week.

Morgan tweeted that Osaka had “withdrawn because of the backlash to her attack on the tennis media for doing their job”, rather than mental health problems.

“I have a problem with high-profile people who exploit the media for huge financial gain and then attack the same media and use mental health as a weapon to silence criticism," he wrote.

“My critiques of people have nothing to do with gender or skin colour & everything to do with how annoying they are.”

His comments drew huge backlash.

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