Four time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka was reduced to tears by a heckler during her 0-6,4-6 defeat by Veronika Kudermetova  in the BNP Masters in Indian Wells.

She was taunted by someone in the crowd shouting “Naomi,you suck” during the first set.

Kudermetova had held serve to open the match at 1-0 when a fan was heard heckling Osaka when the players switched ends. The incident left Osaka rattled for much of the match, as she fought back tears during play. On the next change of ends she asked the umpire if she could use the microphone to address the crowd. Osaka would play on but addressed the crowd after the match on court. 

During an on court interview after the match, a clearly shaken Osaka said it reminded her of Venus and Serena Williams being heckled at the same tournament in 2001.

Holding back tears, Japan’s Osaka said: “Hi, I just wanted to say thank you. I feel like I cried enough on camera.

I’ve been heckled before and it didn’t really bother me.

“But being heckled here. I’ve watched video of Venus and Serena getting heckled here and if you’ve never watched it, you should watch it. And I don’t know why, but it went into my head and got replayed a lot.”

The Williams sisters boycotted Indian Wells for 14 years because of what happened  of 2001.

This was the former World No. 1’s third match since take a break in September 2021.