Tennis fans on the internet have not made peace with the fact that Naomi Osaka is friends with Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios. The duo were recently spotted together at a basketball match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets.
Osaka and Kyrgios, both avid basketball fans, witnessed the Lakers handing the Rockets a comprehensive defeat of 107-97 in an NBA game on Sunday, December 3.
Kyrgios was evident in his support to the Lakers as he donned the team’s iconic yellow shorts for the event. The WTA star was also in Los Angeles to cheer for the home side. Their pictures from the event have been doing rounds on social media.
The duo have developed a cordial bond over the years and were seen enjoying in each other’s company. However, tennis buffs were disappointed to see Osaka mingling with the Australian, who has had a plethora of detractors in the tennis world since his debut in 2013.
A fan on X (formerly Twitter) wondered if the four-time Grand Slam champion is unable to find a “better” person to spend time with.
“She doesn’t have anyone better to hang out with,” the fan wrote.
Another fan questioned Naomi Osaka’s preferences in male friends.
“Naomi has such terrible taste in male friends jesus,” they wrote.
Both Osaka and Kyrgios have been inactive on their respective tours in the recent past. The former WTA No. 1 last competed in September 2022 before her pregnancy. On the other hand, the ATP star struggled with injuries throughout the 2023 season.
Osaka is confirmed to make her comeback at the Brisbane International starting on December 31, 2023. Kyrgios, on the other hand, is eyeing a return as soon as the year ends. In this context, a user suggested their appearance at the Lakers game was a normal PR routine.
“Operation PR 101 has begun before the new season,” the user wrote.
Here are a few more reactions from fans on X:
Naomi Osaka: “I always love starting my season in Brisbane”
Naomi Osaka recently expressed her excitement over her scheduled return to tennis at the Brisbane International tournament in late December 2023.
“I am really excited about getting back out on court and competing. I always love starting my season in Brisbane and can’t wait to return. The Brisbane International is such a great tournament and will set me up for a brilliant comeback this summer,” she told WTA.
The 26-year-old has enjoyed moderate success at the WTA 500 event in Brisbane, with two back-to-back semifinal finishes in 2019 and 2020. In 2019, she went past the likes of Destanee Aiava and Anastasija Sevastova but was eventually shown the door by Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko.
Naomi Osaka lost to Karolina Pliskova in the 2020 semifinals after successfully downing Kiki Bertens, Sofia Kenin, and Maria Sakkari in previous rounds.