Andy Murray tells Naomi Osaka she has ‘to be able to tolerate’ hecklers


Andy Murray tells Naomi Osaka she has ‘to be able to tolerate’ hecklers after she was reduced to TEARS by a spectator shouting ‘you suck’ at her during Indian Wells defeat

  • Naomi Osaka lost in straight sets to Veronika Kudermetova at Indian Wells
  • She was left upset when a spectator shouted ‘Naomi, you suck’ at her
  • Andy Murray says heckling is something tennis players have to ignore  

Andy Murray says tennis players have had to learn to be prepared for hecklers after Naomi Osaka was reduced to tears by crowd taunts in her Indian Wells defeat by  Veronika Kudermetova.

The 24-year-old Osaka, who took time out of the 2021 season to look after her mental health, was upset by a crowd member shouting ‘Naomi, you suck’.

She complained to the umpire and went on to lose the match 6-0, 6-4. She even asked the umpire if she could use their microphone to address the crowd at one moment in the match.

‘I have to speak to my supervisor. What do you want to say?’ the chair umpire responded.

‘I just want to say something,’ Osaka replied. ‘I’m not going to curse. I don’t curse. It’s just weighing on my heart.’

However, the chair umpire – who elected to talk through the emotional situation with the WTA Tour supervisor Claire Wood – denied Osaka’s request to address the crowd. She said giving a microphone to a player during a match was unprecedented.

Andy Murray, pictured with Naomi Osaka after a practice session in 2018, has told her she has to learn to tolerate hecklers during her tennis matches

Osaka was reduced to tears by a heckler during Saturday night's Indian Wells defeat

Osaka was reduced to tears by a heckler during Saturday night’s Indian Wells defeat

The 24-year-old (left) lost to Veronika Kudermetova (right) in the Indian Wells tournament

The 24-year-old (left) lost to Veronika Kudermetova (right) in the Indian Wells tournament

‘It’s a difficult one,’ Murray said, after his defeat in the tournament to Alexander Bublik. ‘I’ve often thought watching certain sports, I wouldn’t say I’ve often seen it loads in tennis – I know it’s happened but I don’t think it’s that common in tennis – but if I watch a football match and a player’s going to take a throw-in or a corner kick and the crowd are just hurling insults at those individuals, I always think like, you know, how’s that allowed? You can’t do that.

‘If you’re doing that to someone when you’re walking down the street or in any other sort of work environment, that’s obviously not tolerated.

‘I’ve played in certain atmospheres as well myself in tennis, like Davis Cup atmospheres, away from home, especially where the atmosphere’s intense, and sometimes things are said and it’s not that comfortable.

Murray said that sometimes players are forced to play in situations that are uncomfortable

Murray said that sometimes players are forced to play in situations that are uncomfortable

Murray insisted that heckling isn't ok - just something that players have to learn to cope with

Murray insisted that heckling isn’t ok – just something that players have to learn to cope with

‘The people that come to watch, obviously you want them to be there and supporting the players and not making it more difficult for them. I don’t know, but it’s also something that’s always just kind of been part of sports as well.

‘If you go and watch a basketball match, for example, and a player’s taking free throws, I would say like almost every basketball match I’ve been to one of the players has been heckled by the crowd as well, and whilst it is wrong for those individuals to be doing it, the athletes have to kind of be used to that as well or be able to deal with that too, even though it’s not pleasant.

‘So, I feel for Naomi, that obviously it upset her a lot, but it’s always been something that’s been part of sport as well. So you have to be prepared for that in some ways and be able to tolerate it because it does happen regularly across all sports.’

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