Naomi Osaka Clapped Back at Megyn Kelly for Criticizing Her ‘Sports Illustrated’ Cover

She told the conservative journalist to "do better."

Naomi Osaka is done listening to people’s criticisms, especially when they’re wrong, and especially when they’re coming from Megyn Kelly. Osaka made history on July 19th when her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover dropped, making her the first Haitian and Japanese woman to be on the cover of the iconic magazine. But the conservative and controversial Kelly swooped in to try to rain on Osaka’s parade.

It started with Kelly quote-tweeting Republican pundit Clay Travis’s tweet slamming Osaka for doing magazine interviews after refusing to do post-match press at the French Open earlier this year. He wrote, “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,” to which Kelly replied, “Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!”

What’s interesting (to put it lightly) about Kelly’s response is that she’s supposedly a journalist and yet somehow doesn’t understand that magazine lead team is quite long, meaning Osaka would have done these interviews and shoots months ago. Doing a feature interview in a magazine on a day off is also vastly different from post-match press with reporters who want to pick apart every mistake you might have made during play, shattering your confidence for the next day.

The tennis champ shared a quote tweet of her own, which she’s since deleted, clapping back at Kelly’s harsh words. She wrote, per People, “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. Instead your first reaction is to hop on here and spew negativity, do better Megan [sic].”

Plenty of Osaka’s fans not only loved her confident clapback but her specific misspelling of Kelly’s name. Whether or not it was intentional is up in the air, but it felt like one final dig before ending the tweet. Kelly, of course, couldn’t not have the last word and tweeted again that Osaka had blocked her, saying she’s “only tough on the courts.” Osaka, being the bigger person, chose not to tweet back to Kelly after this.

But rather than let it all go, she posted one final word on her Instagram Story, per People—she shared a behind-the-scenes look at shooting the swimsuit photos…in December. As we all said, lead times for magazines are months in advance, so her shoot had absolutely no bearing on her decision to forego press at the French Open. But either way, it’s her choice to take care of her mental health how she needs and how she sees fit, and we stand behind her completely.

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