Chris Evert reflects on Naomi Osaka being heckled in Indian Wells



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Chris Evert reflects on Naomi Osaka being heckled in Indian Wells

Former 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert doesn't want to say that Naomi Osaka overeacted in Indian Wells but added she is hoping the Japanese learns how to tune out negative comments during matches. What happened in Indian Wells has been well-documented, and while many feel for Osaka and have condemned the heckler's behavior, they are hoping the Japanese learns how to deal with being heckled.

"I would never use the word 'overreacted' with Naomi; she is a sensitive human being," Evert told Eurosport, per Sportskeeda. "I think Naomi is learning now or will learn, that when you are competing in front of thousands of people and you are that exposed on the court, there may be one or two hecklers out there, that you have to learn to tune out."

Evert hopes the Indian Wells incident won't impact Osaka long-term

Osaka suffered a 6-0 6-4 defeat to Veronika Kudermetova after being visibly upset. "Unfortunately, you have to have a thick skin. But you can have a thick skin while you're competing and then you can still be sensitive off the court with your feelings, but you have to learn that balance, that combination because hecklers have been there for a long time and I think every top player has had that experience, which is disturbing and heartbreaking," Evert added.

"But at the same time, you don't want to let one moment like that affect you so that you never play the same and you lose the match, especially somebody like Naomi, who has been such a bright light for not only tennis players but all athletes, all people when it comes to mental wellness.

She has taught us a lot and she has really exposed that area of health that is very, very important. She has been, you know, such a role model for so many people. "I think this is a process for her. This is a learning process for her in life and on the tennis court.

I think all of us who know her support her in her journey and hope that she finds the balance again to be tough on the court and then sensitive off of it because that is the real her." Osaka will be hoping to bounce back at the Miami Masters, for which she was given a wildcard.