New WTA world number one, Naomi Osaka, has blamed scrutiny on her split with former coach for the defeat at the Dubai Tennis Championship.
It was her first match since rising to the top of the female ranking, and also her first since the Japanese parted ways with Sascha Bajin last week.
The Australian and US Open champion was beaten 6-3 6-3 by France’s Kristina Mladenovic in the second round of the competition.
Asked if she could refuse to react to the news of the split, she said: “I couldn’t. This match is the result of that.”
“I’m pretty sure as time goes on you guys will stop talking about it. For now, it’s like the biggest tennis news, I guess.
“It’s a little bit hard because I feel like people are staring at me, and not like in a good way.”
Osaka, 21, who had a bye in the first round, lost in 66 minutes against a player who had not won a match this year before this tournament.
Both players traded six successive breaks of serve before world number 67, Mladenovic, 25, held up when serving for the match, to set up a meeting with Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro in the third round.
Meanwhile, second seed and two-time Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova, fought back from a set down to beat fellow Czech Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-4 to book a ticket in the last 16.
Germany’s three-time Grand Slam champion, Angelique Kerber, saved two set points in the opener before winning 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 against Slovenia’s Dalila Jakupovic.