How the tennis world reacted to Naomi Osaka skipping press conferences
Earlier this week, tennis superstar Naomi Osaka announced her decision to decline all interviews during Roland Garros.
“I’ve often felt like people have no respect for the mental health of athletes and that rings very true every time I see a press conference or attend one,” Osaka wrote. “We often sit there and ask questions that we’ve been asked many times before or questions that raise doubts in our minds and I’m just not going to submit to people who doubt me.”
She said she appreciates a few of the reporters who have interviewed her since she was young, but she doesn’t appreciate the number of members of the media who bring bad performances to athletes. She sees it as “kicking a person while they’re down.”
“I hope the huge amount I get fined for this will go to a mental health charity,” Osaka wrote:.
Many reacted to Osaka’s decision and comments, including the great Billie Jean King, who said she was “heartbroken” as she tried to learn from both sides of the situation.
“While it’s important that everyone has the right to speak their truth, I’ve always believed that as professional athletes we have a responsibility to make ourselves available to the media,” King told Helene Elliott. Los Angeles Times by email. “These days, without the press, no one would have known who we are or what we thought. There is no doubt that they helped build and develop our sport into what it is today.
King acknowledged that everything is different now in the age of social media, but she believes the media still plays an important role in telling the story of professional athletes. There’s no doubt the media has to respect certain boundaries, King said, but it’s important that everyone respects each other.
Current male star Rafael Nadal said he respects Osaka and her decision, but doesn’t necessarily agree with her stance.
“Without the press, without the people who normally travel and write the news and the achievements that we have around the world, we probably won’t be the athletes that we are today,” Nadal said. “We’re not going to have the recognition that we have in the world, and we’re not going to be popular, right?”
Former tennis star Rennae Stubbs, who now works in the media, called it an “incredible time” for the media to listen and understand how they can do better.
Osaka is the No. 2 seed at Roland-Garros.
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