Tennis star Naomi Osaka has a message for people criticizing photos of her in a bikini that she posted on social media.
The two-time Grand Slam champion, 22, shared a series of swimsuit photos earlier this month that she said drew negative remarks from certain commenters.
Osaka took to Twitter to address the shaming and call out those who felt empowered to comment on her appearance.
“I just wanna say it’s creeping me out how many people are commenting @ me to maintain my ‘innocent image’ and ‘don’t try to be someone your not,’” she wrote. “You don’t know me, I’m 22, I wear swimsuits to the pool. Why do you feel like you can comment on what I can wear?”
Plenty of fans came to Osaka’s defense.
“Like she said, you don't know her,” one supporter commented on her Twitter post. “How about saying ‘you're one of the best in your sport and you're proud and confident of the way you look. I want my daughter to also be proud of the way she looks and work hard for her dreams like Naomi did and does.’”
“You’re so strong and incredible!!” another Twitter fan wrote. “Please don’t listen to anyone who says those things. They don’t even know you! Who are they to judge you or try to control what you do? Sending good vibes your way, I really look up to you!!”
Osaka made headlines in 2018 when she beat the athlete she grew up idolizing, Serena Williams, in the U.S. Open, becoming the first player from Japan to win a Grand Slam title.
After the match, some fans booed Osaka from the stands during the trophy celebration. In a classy display of sportsmanship, Williams stood up for her competitor.
“Let’s give everyone the credit where credit’s due and let’s not boo anymore,” she told spectators.
That integrity came full circle the following year, when Osaka beat Coco Gauff, who was 15 at the time, at the U.S. Open. She embraced her tearful competitor after the match and invited her to join her for the post-match interview, which usually only includes the title winner.
“Keep your head up, you’ve got so much to be proud of,” Osaka later tweeted to Gauff. “Warrior.”