Naomi Osaka was left in tears during a recent press conference in Cincinnati. The tennis star was asked by Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Paul Daugherty about her relationship with the media, which resulted in her leaving the podium in tears. Afterwards, Osaka’s agent Stuart Duguid accused the reporter of being a “bully”.
Naomi Osaka left press conference in tears
Naomi Osaka started crying at a recent press conference at the Western & Southern Open.
The tennis ace, who withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon earlier in the year citing mental health issues, was left visibly emotional after a line of questioning.
Paul Daugherty – a sports columnist at the Cincinnati Enquirer – asked Osaka about her relationship with the media.
Daugherty asked: “You’re not crazy about dealing with us, especially in this format, yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform.
“I guess my question is, how do you balance the two, and also do you have anything you’d like to share with us about what you did say to Simone Biles?”
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What was Naomi’s response?
Osaka replied: “This is something that I can’t really speak for everybody, I can only speak for myself. But ever since I was younger I’ve had a lot of media interest on me and I think it’s because of my background, as well as how I play.
“Because in the first place I’m a tennis player – that’s why a lot of people are interested in me. So in that regard, I’m quite different to a lot of people.
“I can’t really help there are some things I tweet or say that create a lot of news articles… and I know it’s because I’ve won a couple of Grand Slams and I’ve gotten to do a lot of press conferences.
“But I would also say, I’m not really sure how to balance the two. I’m figuring it out at the same time as you are.”
As seen from the video below, Osaka wiped tears from her face before stepping away for a few moments.
She later returned to the podium.
What did Naomi Osaka’s agent say?
After the press conference Naomi Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, heavily criticised Paul Daugherty.
Duguid called the Enquirer reporter a “bully” in a statement obtained by E! News.
“The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player / media relations are so fraught right now.
“Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate.
“Really appalling behaviour.”
He added: “And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth – don’t be so self-indulgent.”
Who is Stuart Duguid?
According to Stuart Duguid’s LinkedIn bio, he is senior vice-president of IMG Tennis.
He has been in that position since November 2015.
Osaka’s agent attended Duke University School of Law and has been featured on the 40 Under Forty list.
Stuart Duguid and Naomi Osaka appeared on a Facebook Watch video together discussing brand partnerships.
Stuart is on Twitter but his account is set to private.
In his cover photo he has a graphic of Naomi Osaka’s Netflix documentary.
What has Paul Daugherty said about it?
At first, reporter Paul Daugherty did not respond until the incident gained traction on social media.
Daugherty mostly received support on Twitter, with people suggesting his tone was far from “aggressive”.
Ben Rothenberg – a writer for the New York Times – provided a thread of the whole incident.
At first he seemed to suggest the tone was aggressive, but back-tracked slightly when people pushed back.
Paul Daugherty then responded to a tweet of support saying he had never bullied anyone in his life.
The columnist then further denied he is a bully in an article for the Cincinnati Enquirer.
He said her response to his question was, “honest, thoughtful… and unlike any answer I’ve ever gotten in 34 years covering sports in Cincinnati.”
Daugherty went on to add: “She’s very human – and doesn’t mind showing it.”