Naomi Osaka had gone a little quiet on social media in the immediate aftermath of her French Open withdrawal, but she has resumed her activity now. On Monday, the 23-year-old gave a stinging reply to American journalist and TV anchor Megyn Kelly after the latter criticized Osaka for courting the limelight amid her mental health concerns.
The Japanese also blocked English media personality Piers Morgan after he seemed to echo Kelly's sentiments.
Naomi Osaka has not been seen in competitive action since her refusal to attend press conferences at Roland Garros and subsequent withdrawal from both the claycourt Major and Wimbledon. But the Japanese player has been in the news for other reasons, thanks to a number of off-court initiatives.
Those include a Netflix docuseries based on her life, a Barbie doll modeled after her, and appearances on the magazine covers of Sports Illustrated and Vogue Japan. And Megyn Kelly, a well-known journalist, political commentator, talk show host and television news anchor, took to Twitter earlier on Monday to call out Naomi Osaka's many public interests outside of tennis.
The series of events started with a tweet from Clay Travis, who is another American political commentator and media personality as well as the founder of OutKick. Travis made a sarcastic comment questioning how Osaka could be "too introverted to talk to the media" and yet have no problem launching a reality show and a Barbie doll and appearing on Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.
Kelly seemed to agree with Travis' view. The 50-year-old quote-tweeted his message, citing Osaka's appearance on the cover of Vogue Japan and Time magazine to back Travis' tweet.
But Naomi Osaka, who is known to respond fiercely to critics on social media, shot down Kelly by suggesting that she hadn't done enough research.
"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," Osaka wrote in reply.
She then implied that Kelly was being unnecessarily hateful, before asking the American to "do better".
"Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan," the Japanese added.
Osaka has now deleted her tweet, but below is a screenshot of it:
Naomi Osaka also subsequently blocked Megyn Kelly on Twitter, which earned another jibe from the journalist. Kelly claimed Osaka "doesn't like questions she can't control" and suggested that she is "only tough on the courts".
Piers Morgan also chimed in with his views late on Monday, sarcastically calling Naomi Osaka "brave" and "inspiring" for appearing on multiple magazine covers.
Osaka retaliated by blocking Morgan too, which is when the latter joined hands with Megyn Kelly. Morgan quote-tweeted Kelly's post and insinuated that Osaka can't tolerate any media apart from "sycophantic magazine editors" who keep telling her she is "perfect".
Naomi Osaka will be seeded 2nd behind Ashleigh Barty at the Tokyo Olympics
Seeded No. 2 behind World No. 1 and Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty, Naomi Osaka will be one of the most keenly followed athletes at the Tokyo Olympics. This will be Osaka's first tournament since the French Open, and there will be a lot of eyeballs on her in light of her stand against press conferences.
But the attention will likely be even greater from her home fans, and for more wholesome reasons. The 23-year-old is seen as a sporting and cultural icon in Japan, and she has repeatedly talked about how much it means to her to be representing the country at the Olympics.
The women's field, the list of which has been released by the International Tennis Federation, includes 14 of the world's top 20 players. The tennis event in Tokyo kicks off on Saturday, 24 July.