Nine star opens up on botched interview
CHANELL 9 presenter Tony Jones has spoken again about his much-publicised interview with tennis star Naomi Osaka.
Jones was slammed on social media for his chat with the 21-year-old after she defeated Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final last weekend.
As Osaka embarked on her various media commitments after securing her second grand slam title, she headed to the Channel 9 desk with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup in tow, prompting Jones to say he was "not sure how you carried it all this way".
AFLW star Darcy Vescio blasted Jones on Twitter and plenty of others had their say as he came under fire for questions about Osaka's Japanese heritage, how she would spend her prizemoney and a remark about her smile.
Jones broke his silence on radio during the week and opened up again to the Herald Sun about the "s**t" time he's had in the aftermath. He said when Osaka walked off he realised the chat didn't go as well as planned and admitted the affair had weighed heavily on him all week.
Jones also said he in no way meant to talk down to Osaka when he asked about her carrying the trophy.
"To read into that I was being demeaning or sexist, that was really disappointing. I would have asked Novak Djokovic the same thing, it was just meant to be lighthearted," Jones told the Herald Sun.
After copping the Twittersphere's anger, Jones hit back at the "cowards" berating him online.
"I didn't look at social media over the weekend because I got wind that it wasn't pretty," Jones said on 3AW radio during the week.
"This is all apparently because I did the wrong thing with the Naomi Osaka interview. I didn't do the wrong thing.
"I am not going to lose any sleep and I'm not going to let it affect my life by having people who divide their time between the couch and the keyboard.
"They are cowards and they need to take a long hard look at themselves."
Jones has a new gig on revamped Channel 9 breakfast program Today and was part of the network's coverage of the Australian Open after it bought the rights to the major, which has for so long been broadcast by Channel 7.
Osaka became the first Asian to be ranked No. 1 in the world after downing Kvitova to add the Australian crown to the US Open title she won last year.
"This feels more like I'm used to it now," she told reporters afterwards. "I know that sounds a bit strange because this is only the second one but the first time I won it definitely felt a bit more unreal."
The rising star said she was hungry for more slam success.
"The way the tennis world is, there's always the next tournament, the next Slam, and we all just want to keep training hard and winning more," she said.
"So, I'm not really sure if I'm satisfied."
Osaka became the first woman to win successive majors since Serena Williams in 2015 and the youngest since Martina Hingis in 1998, and she's excited about the prospect of claiming the French Open and Wimbledon for a "Naomi Slam".
"I'm not going to lie and say that thought hasn't crossed my mind," Osaka said. "But I don't know.
"For me, I just have to take it one tournament at a time, especially Indian Wells is coming up and I won that tournament last year. I feel like I have to think about that."
Osaka was unfazed by the attention she was receiving, saying she was in the spotlight even when her ranking was languishing in the 70s.
She said it was misleading to view her rise as an overnight success.
"I guess looking from the outside, from your guys' view, it does," Osaka said. "For me, every practice and every match that I've played, it feels like the year is short and long at the same time.
"I'm aware of all the work that I put in. I know all the sacrifices that every player does to stay at this level.
"In my opinion, it didn't feel fast. It felt kind of long."