INDIAN WELLS, USA – Andy Murray expressed sympathy for Naomi Osaka after she was rattled by a heckler during her second-round loss on Saturday, March 12, at Indian Wells and said unruly fans were an unfortunate part of sports.
Osaka was thrown off her game and began to cry after a person screamed, “Naomi, you suck!” early on in her eventual 6-0 6-4 loss to Veronika Kudermetova.
After the match, Osaka spoke directly to the otherwise supportive crowd, saying the incident reminded her of the abuse Venus and Serena Williams received at the tournament in 2001, which led them to boycott the event for more than a decade.
“It’s a difficult one,” Murray told reporters after his second-round loss on Sunday.
“I’ve often thought watching certain sports, I wouldn’t say I’ve often seen it loads in tennis … but if I watch a football or a soccer match and a player’s going to take throw-in or a corner kick and the crowd are just hurling insults at those individuals.”
“I always think, how is that allowed? Like, you can’t do that,” he said, adding that such behavior would be unacceptable in public or any other workplace setting.”
Murray said he had heard comments that were “not comfortable” when playing Davis Cup matches away from home in intense environments.
“Obviously I feel for Naomi, that it upset her a lot but yeah, it’s always been something that’s been part of sport, I guess, as well,” Murray said.
“So, you know, you have to, I guess, be prepared for that in some ways and be able to tolerate it because it does happen regularly across all sports.” – Rappler.com