I woke up to the news that Naomi Osaka is going to refuse press conferences at the French Open. She cites mental health reasons.
Osaka announced on social media that she won’t do the mandatory press conferences during Roland Garros and just pay the fines that are incurred for avoiding them . She writes in her statement:
“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one. We’re often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”
Is Naomi’s statement a sign of her lack of form during the clay-court season?
Osaka is not afraid to make a statement, which is what she did during the US Open with her refusal to play her semi-final match as a part of the BLM movement protests. This move seems to be made more due to personal reasons, but I can see how other players want to stand behind it. Anyone who has been to a press conference after a tough loss knows it can be quite draining to answer questions about something that is very painful at the moment.
Still, you might argue that the players are paid well (at least on grand slam level) to play tennis and a press conference is just a part of the life of a professional athlete. The media needs something to write about and getting a personal perspective from the players on a match is useful. I can see how some people find it silly that a huge tennis star like Osaka refuses to do one key part of her job.
It will be interesting to follow how the press, other players and the tour reacts to this statement. Will other players follow? (If they can afford the fines). How will the media react?
Osaka sure knows how to whip up headlines and press reactions, so they might be happy anyway!
If you want to know what racquet Naomi Osaka uses, check out this article and video.