“Yesterday’s match, against Petra Kvitova, a left-handed player, must’ve been difficult to counter,” the reporter said, according to SoraNews24. “Could you tell us, in Japanese, how difficult it was to deal with? Just one word about how you felt.”
Osaka, who has since revealed that she “can understand way more Japanese than I can speak,” refused to give in to the reporter’s request and instead began her response with “I’m going to say it in English.”
The tennis pro’s firm yet polite reply instantly won Japanese Twitter, with many slamming the local media for being so concerned about her background.
User @bettybeat, who posted the clip, wrote, “In Naomi Osaka’s interviews, Japanese reporters often ask her to speak in Japanese. I’m sick of it and I’m sorry for Naomi, but her firm ‘I’m going to say it in English’ saved me.”
Others echoed the same thoughts:
“It seems the media wants to disregard her black roots. Why can’t they let her speak in whatever language she wants?”
“That passionate ‘I’m gonna say it in English.’ Gahahaha. How satisfying.”
“I love it that the media does not get what it expects.”
“Naomi Osaka just spoke like a true champion.”
“What a rude reporter!”
Interestingly, a local radio program ran a poll on the matter and found that 1,648 people — an overwhelming majority — did not like the idea of Osaka being asked to speak in Japanese. Meanwhile, a measly 97 thought it was good.
Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.
Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.
We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.