Naomi Osaka is skipping press at the French Open to protect her mental health and that’s OK


When Naomi Osaka speaks, she doesn’t at all times have very a lot to say. However what she does say finally ends up being charming, highly effective and refreshing multi functional fell swoop. She’s an absolute treasure.

At Roland Garros for the French Open, we gained’t be getting any of that.

Osaka introduced in an announcement by way of social media on Wednesday that she wouldn’t be doing any press on the French Open. She cited her psychological well being as the rationale why.

She talked about her expertise doing media and the way she’ll be requested questions time and again. And in addition how a few of these questions can depart doubt in an athlete’s thoughts.

Right here’s her full assertion.

“We’re usually sat there and requested questions that we’ve been requested a number of occasions earlier than or requested questions that convey doubt into our minds and I’m simply not going to topic myself to those who doubt me. I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss within the press room and I do know you will have as nicely. I consider that complete state of affairs is kicking an individual whereas they’re down and I don’t perceive the reasoning behind it.” 

She went on to say there wasn’t something private in regards to the match that drove this choice for her and that she has a pleasant relationship with most media. She simply didn’t wish to do press.

She additionally stated she’d willingly pay the fines she’ll incur for not doing it, that are $20,000 per match in accordance with the Grand Slam rule e book.

On the floor, this stinks. Once more, Naomi Osaka is an absolute treasure. When she speaks, it’s highly effective. She’s one of the crucial genuinely charming folks in sports activities. From a fan perspective, we’re dropping out.

And from a media perspective, this isn’t the best both. We’re dropping entry to one of many best athletes — not simply in her sport however in sports activities interval. Howard Bryant had an attention-grabbing thread about what this implies for this state of media and its relationship with the athlete that it’s best to learn everything of.

However no tweet caught out greater than this one.

Naomi Osaka makes her sport extra attention-grabbing. She’s one of the crucial influential athletes on the planet. With out her, the place does that depart tennis? We don’t know. We’re about to search out out — at the least for this match.

However truthfully? All of that comes secondary right here. What’s most vital is Osaka’s well-being and psychological well being — particularly within the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

We’re just some months faraway from seeing Serena Williams break down in tears after a press convention. She isn’t the primary. She gained’t be the final. However, clearly, moments like that one have rubbed Osaka the unsuitable manner. And who can blame her? Particularly as a lady of shade who occurs to be an athlete. She faces criticism and protection that different athletes simply completely wouldn’t get.

Osaka’s bigger level deserves consideration, too. Press conferences might be, by nature, de-humanizing. Questions are shouted towards an athlete sitting within the highlight, and the whole lot stated might be reduce up and misinterpreted right away. That’s not conducive to honest reflection or in-depth dialogue. Perhaps it’s time for sports activities organizations to re-consider how they make athletes obtainable, primarily based on suggestions from these athletes.

Perhaps it’s a matter of eradicating punishment for not talking to the media so the athlete doesn’t really feel pressured. Perhaps it’s a change within the setting. Perhaps there are tweaks to make that may make the Q&A format extra private. Many reporters don’t just like the press convention format, both; I don’t know what the answer is however Osaka has stirred the dialog. That’s a very good factor for everybody concerned.

For now, Osaka doesn’t wish to be subjected to press conferences. And he or she’s additionally keen to pay the effective for it. If that’s the case, then who’re we to inform her in any other case? That is Osaka defending her well-being. And that’s the most effective factor she will be able to probably do for herself.

Will we miss her ideas? Her allure? Completely. No query. However we’ll be effective. She’s simply ensuring she shall be, too.


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