While most Sports Illustrated cover models are celebrating with fans on social media over their features, Japanese tennis champion, Naomi Osaka, is battling backlash from big names like Fox New’s Megyn Kelly. Since the publication released the issues featuring the young sports star, talkshow hosts and TV personalities have given their opinions on Osaka’s recent photoshoot and her withdrawal from the French Open.
Previously, while the 23-year-old competed in the 2021 Open, Naomi Osaka refused to partake in the mandatory press conference following her first match. The officiants fined her for her absence, and Osaka ended up withdrawing from the competition altogether. The reason for her departure stemmed from the sports star’s battle with mental health, particularly her depression and anxiety.
In a later statement, Naomi Osaka revealed that her depression worsened following the 2018 US Open. She also shared that she experienced “huge waves of anxiety” before big media events like press conferences. Since then, the tennis star has abstained from international competitions in preparation for the Olympics.
But now that Osaka appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, she’s sparked some controversy among other celebrities.
Megyn Kelly Calls Naomi Osaka a ‘Hypocrite’
The social media match began on Twitter when Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis expressed his frustration over Naomi Osaka’s cover shoot and recent self-titled Netflix documentary about her rise to fame. The talk show host felt that her recent appearance on Sports Illustrated contradicted her previous statements about her mental health.
That’s when fellow Fox News personality, Megyn Kelly, agreed and added her thoughts, too.
“Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!” Kelly wrote while retweeting Travis’ post.
But Osaka didn’t let the celebrities talk about her for long without defending herself.
Naomi Osaka retweeted Kelly’s comment and wrote, “Seeing as you’re a journalist I would’ve assumed you would take the time to research what the lead times are for magazines, if you did that you would’ve found out I shot all of my covers last year.”
She also added, “do better Megan [sic].”
Perhaps regretting engaging in the conversation, the tennis star later deleted her tweet and opted to block Kelly instead. She also blocked British TV host Piers Morgan. The Fox News host didn’t let this go unseen.
Kelly posted a photo of Naomi Osaka’s blocked account. In her comment, she wrote, “Poor @naomiosaka blocked me while taking a shot at me (guess she’s only tough on the courts). She is apparently arguing that she shot her many covers b/4 publicly claiming she was too socially anxious to deal w/press. Truth is she just doesn’t like Qs she can’t control. Admit it.”
Since the exchange, Naomi Osaka hasn’t commented further.