NAOMI OSAKA was branded a “fraud” by Piers Morgan as the columnist continued his repeated criticism of the tennis star last year.
Naomi Osaka is already up and running in the Australian Open as she looks to defend her title. The Japanese player produced a dominant win over Colombia’s Camila Osorio in her first game in Melbourne on Monday. She will face American Madison Brengle today. Ms Osaka has spoken openly about her struggles since she won her first Grand Slam title in 2018 aged just 20.
She was criticized for opting not to speak to the media during last year’s French Open, from which she ultimately withdrew while revealing her struggles with depression.
One person who emerged as a big critic of the young star was Piers Morgan.
He called her an “arrogant spoiled brat” in his Daily Mail column, and accused Ms Osaka of using mental health as an excuse to avoid media scrutiny.
He added: “This has got nothing to do with mental health. What Osaka really means is that she doesn’t want to face the media if she hasn’t played well, because the beastly journalists might actually dare to criticize her performance.”
Mr Morgan received widespread criticism himself for the harsh comments, but this didn’t stop him from reigniting the row on multiple occasions throughout 2021.
In September, Ms Osaka attended the New York Met Gala in New York. Mr Morgan wrote another column, in which he labelled New York Mayor Bill de Blasio a fraud for his attendance at the ‘Oscars of fashion”.
The journalist then said: “And speaking of frauds, tennis star Naomi Osaka has spent most of the year whining, crying, throwing racket-breaking tantrums on court, and blaming the media for her poor form and mental health issues.
“Yet last night she rocked up, as sulky faced as ever, to parade in front of the world’s media in an outrageous Louis Vuitton outfit that screamed ‘GIVE ME ATTENTION!'”
At the time, Ms Osaka had opened up about her mental health struggles and announced she would take a break from tennis.
She said: “I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.
“This is very hard to articulate. Basically, I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry.”
She later said she felt emotionally conflicted whether she won or lost, adding: “I feel like for me, recently, when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then,
when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.
“I guess we’re all dealing with some stuff, but I know that I’m dealing with some stuff.”