Naomi Osaka tested by Gauff; wins 3-setter in tour return


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Naomi is back on track.

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Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty asked how she balanced her discomfort with news conferences and her need to speak out.

While Osaka appeared comfortable during the exchange, her agent, Stuart Duguid, described Daugherty on Twitter as a “bully.”

ESPN’s take:

“My issue is with the agent. He is so off-base with what he said. Just based off of that press conference, I thought the reporter was incredibly fair and incredibly delicate with how he asked the question. Then, the moderator said, ‘Would you like to move on?’ And Naomi Osaka said, ‘No. I’d like to try and answer that question.’ I’m trying to figure out what the reporter did wrong. So, for the agent to come out with a statement basically accusing the journalist of bullying her, I’m like, ‘What? What are you talking about?‘ Because, if folks are going to side with that, then essentially, if you are a journalist and that is what we classify as bullying, then as a journalist, the only thing you get to say is, ‘What would you like to talk about?’”— Stephen A. Smith, ESPN 

“The reporter did not seem to be attacking her. The idea that it was bullying is utter nonsense! It’s such nonsense that the agent’s statement betrays either a lack of comprehension or [an] intentionally dishonest point of view. She was interested in the question. The gist of it, the spirit of it, was ‘Hey, I understand that you don’t really like these kinds of press conferences.’ But he never said, as the agent said, that he thinks the media is responsible for her success. What he did suggest is that the media can be useful to someone who has a platform to amplify their platform to deliver messages that Naomi Osaka seems interested in delivering. She was both emotionally and intellectually engaged by the question. I thought it was a thoughtful question. I thought she gave a thoughtful response. Nothing there was untoward or out of line. The agent’s statement calling the reporter a bully frames it in a way that, based on what we saw, simply is not the case.” — Max Kellerman, ESPN

Video of press conference:

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She responded with what the writer later described as the best answer he’s ever heard in 34 years of covering sports.

This is completely and utterly false. He said it was, "...unlike any answer I've ever gotten..."

She left the news conference weeping. If you watch a video of it, there was nothing "bullying" about his question or tone like her agent claimed. Watch it.

Here is the agent's insane quote:

“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 behavior. And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off-court success to the media is a myth — don’t be so self-indulgent.”

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So much for all the naysayers.

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