Rafa Nadal Daniil Medvedev Australian Open final 2022

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev echo Andy Murray comments on Naomi Osaka abuse

Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev have become the latest stars to extend their sympathy to Naomi Osaka after she was affected by a heckler, saying “we are human too,” but Nadal feels players “need to be ready for adversities.”

Four-time Grand Slam winner Osaka was almost reduced to tears at the Indian Wells Masters after a rowdy heckler shouted “Naomi, you suck” in her straight set defeat to Veronika Kudermetova in the second round.

This comes after Osaka endured a challenging 2021 season in which she withdrew from both the French Open and Wimbledon, citing anxiety and depression as the major factors behind her decision.

The situation has led to many fellow professionals offering Osaka their sympathy, but all have ultimately recognised that very little can be done and heckling has always been an engrained part of sporting culture.

Three-time Slam ace Andy Murray recently said he “feels for” Osaka, but thinks “you have to be prepared for that in some ways and be able to tolerate it.”

Now 21-time Slam legend Nadal and World number one Medvedev have become the latest names to agree with Murray’s comments.

Speaking in a post-match press conference, Nadal said “in the real world, that happens, you know? I feel very sorry for her.

“[But] we are very lucky people that we’re able to enjoy amazing experiences because we are tennis players.

“Even if is terrible to hear, we need to be prepared for that, no?

“Nothing is perfect in this life, no? We need to be ready for adversities.

“I understand that probably Naomi suffered a lot with these kind of issues that she has, mental [health] issues. The only thing that I wish her is recovering well from that and wish her the very best.”

Medvedev echoed Nadal’s sentiments but remained more reserved as he hadn’t seen the incident first hand. The Russian said “it’s tough for everybody because I can feel for Naomi, I mean I felt not great in Australia.

“I can feel [for] the fans that [are] maybe gonna say ‘what the hell, they’re getting millions, they should be ready for everything.’

“[At] the same time we are humans, we all make mistakes, good decisions. Sometimes we feel bad, sometimes we feel good.

“So basically I can understand that Naomi didn’t feel that great when she heard it and I can completely understand her feelings.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.