‘Do better, Megyn’: Naomi Osaka hits back after Kelly criticized Sports Illustrated cover

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has hit back at Megyn Kelly for criticizing her – angrily responding to the journalist’s comments on Twitter, and then blocking her.

The row – which saw all-time great Martina Navratilova weigh in – began when Osaka, 23, unveiled her Sports Illustrated cover.

The Japanese-Haitian four-time Grand Slam winner is the first female black athlete to star on the cover of the swimsuit edition. 

She is one of three women featured – the others being Megan Thee Stallion, the first rapper to feature, and Leyna Bloom, the first transgender cover model.

Yet Osaka’s cover came after she pulled out of both the French Open and Wimbledon, citing efforts to protect her mental health. Osaka previously revealed that she has suffered from depression since 2018. 

Naomi Osaka, 23, has become the first female black athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition

MJ Day, the magazine's swimsuit edition editor-in-chief, said: 'There’s no question that Naomi is one of the best athletes in the world, and a cover spot felt obvious. She’s spent her formative years racking up titles and is headed to the Olympics. But we celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength and power geared towards consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice, and mental health.'

MJ Day, the magazine’s swimsuit edition editor-in-chief, said: ‘There’s no question that Naomi is one of the best athletes in the world, and a cover spot felt obvious. She’s spent her formative years racking up titles and is headed to the Olympics. But we celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength and power geared towards consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice, and mental health.’

‘There’s no question that Naomi is one of the best athletes in the world, and a cover spot felt obvious,’ said MJ Day, the swimsuit edition’s editor-in-chief. 

‘She’s spent her formative years racking up titles and is headed to the Olympics. 

‘But we celebrate Naomi for her passion, strength and power geared towards consistently breaking barriers when it comes to equality, social justice, and mental health.’ 

Kelly responded to a tweet from conservative commentator Clay Travis that read: ‘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.’

Megyn Kelly, former Fox News anchor turned podcast host, criticized Naomi Osaka for her SI swimsuit edition cover

Megyn Kelly, former Fox News anchor turned podcast host, criticized Naomi Osaka for her SI swimsuit edition cover

Osaka, the first Asian to reach world number one, appears on the cover of the August edition of Japanese Vogue

Osaka, the first Asian to reach world number one, appears on the cover of the August edition of Japanese Vogue

Osaka has become well known for speaking out about mental health issues, and withdrew from the French Open in May, arguing that it was not good for her state of mind

Osaka has become well known for speaking out about mental health issues, and withdrew from the French Open in May, arguing that it was not good for her state of mind

Kelly, an ex-Fox News anchor, shared the tweet and added: ‘Let’s not forget the cover of (& interview in) Vogue Japan and Time Mag!’

Osaka, who will be at the Tokyo Olympics representing Japan, replied: ‘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.’

The world number two then blocked Kelly on the social media app.

Osaka is seen promoting her Barbie doll - a doll which immediately sold out online

Osaka is seen promoting her Barbie doll – a doll which immediately sold out online

‘Poor @naomiosaka blocked me while taking a shot at me (guess she’s only tough on the courts),’ Kelly responded. 

‘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.’

Piers Morgan, editor-at-large of DailyMail.com, agreed with Kelly, tweeting: ‘Yep, and she just blocked me too. 

‘The only media Ms Osaka wants to tolerate are sycophantic magazine editors telling her how perfect she is.’ 

Navratilova then joined in, telling Kelly: ‘A****** much , Megyn?!? You have no idea what you are talking about. 

‘But go ahead- take your shot. It missed badly!!!’

Kelly replied: ‘Actually, being an “a******,” as you so elegantly put it, is calling for “riots everywhere” as you did after G Floyd died – while you sat in one of your mansions in zero danger. 19 ppl died in said riots – incldg David Dorn. Now you want to pretend u care about others? Please.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk