Naomi Osaka wasn’t here for any of the negativity that Megyn Kelly tried to send her way following the debut of the tennis champion’s “Sports Illustrated” swimsuit issue cover and had no issue letting the conservative journalist know it.
Osaka, who is currently ranked second in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association, has openly addressed the struggles she faces as an athlete when it comes to balancing her performances and career expectations with maintaining her mental health, even going as far as withdrawing from this year’s French Open to focus on herself. However, when her swimsuit cover dropped, opinions came flooding in, and the four-time Grand Slam champion had time to address her haters, which included podcast host Megyn Kelly.
Kelly attempted to call out 23-year-old Osaka for being a hypocrite when she chimed in on fellow conservative pundit Clay Travis’ post, which accused Osaka of being selectively introverted. “Since saying she’s too introverted to talk to the media after tennis matches, Naomi Osaka has launched a reality show, a Barbie, and now is on the cover of the SI swimsuit issue,” he tweeted, to which Kelly added, “Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!”
The political commentators were referring to Osaka’s recent uptick of media coverage, including appearances in “Vogue Japan”s August issue, “Vogue Hong Kong”s July 2021 digital issue, her essay in this month’s “Time,” the sold-out Barbie created in her likeness, and a Netflix documentary chronicling her career so far.
Refusing to have her achievements thrown in her face, Osaka replied directly to Kelly and clarified that all of her covers were shot in 2020, before chiding her for “spewing negativity” and suggesting she “do better.”
“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 told Kelly on Twitter. “Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan”
“Poor @naomiosaka blocked me while taking a shot at me (guess she’s only tough on the courts),” Kelly tweeted along with a screenshot of the blocked message. “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.”
Osaka is the first Black athlete to make the magazine’s swimsuit issue cover and is one of three notable figures chosen for the 2021 SI swimsuit edition covers. Megan Thee Stallion and Leyna Bloom landed their own history-making covers as well, with the former being the first rapper and the latter being the first trans model to grace to cover.