Former American tennis star Pam Shriver showed empathy for Naomi Osaka after what went down during her Indian Wells Masters second round match. Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, was heckled by a fan from the stands and she was visibly upset afterward.
Osaka went on to lose the match in staight sets to Veronika Kudermetova. Throughout the whole first set, Osaka was visibly upset, crying, and she wanted the fan thrown out of the stadium. "There has been a lot of discussion in the last 24 hours about what happened to Naomi Osaka last night.
A heckler from the stands said something that really hurt Osaka and unfortunately, Osaka was not the same after that comment, especially in the first set," Shriver told Tennis Channel, per Sportskeeda. "Whether it's in New York, Melbourne, or around the world, you do get hecklers and you really have to do the best you can and just put the blinders on and ignore them."
Shriver: I feel for Osaka, fans can be brutal
Shriver is hoping what went down in Indian Wells won't leave a long lasting impact on Osaka and that she will be able to continue competing as scheduled. "I think we all have empathy for what Osaka is going through, but if you put yourself out there as a professional athlete in front of people, just ask them to fill it in for your fans, sports fan," mentioned Shriver.
"Fans can be brutal sometimes and they can be mean, but in an individual sport like tennis, it affects players differently, and I just hope that it doesn't set her back to not wanting to play again. I hope she is able to get back and play again and take what she hears from the crowd and ignore it." Osaka was granted a wildcard into the Miami Masters, which starts on March 22.