Naomi Osaka wept when she was struck by the crowd when she lost to Veronika Kudermetova in the second round at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.
Wells spectators in India shouted “Naomi, you smoke” early in the defeat of Osaka’s 6-0, 6-4, making the tennis star visually emotional on the court.
After the match, Osaka stayed on the court for fans in a post-match interview.
“Honestly, I’ve been heckled before, but I don’t really care, but I’ve been heckled here, so I watched a video of Venus and Serena being heckled here. I don’t know why, but it came to my mind and was replayed many times, “Osaka said.
The Williams sisters boycotted the event for over a decade, beginning in 2001 after being abused by fans during the tournament.
Osaka withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon last season and spoke openly about mental health issues and spotlight pressure. He returned to the 24-year-old US Open, but took a little more break from the court before returning to the tour.
Osaka is currently ranked 78th in the world and was not seeded by Indian Wells.