Nadal and Barty at odds with Naomi Osaka over media stance

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The fallout from Naomi Osaka’s announcement that she won’t be conducting her obligatory media duties on the French Open this yr on account of its results on her psychological well being has continued at Roland Garros. Rafael Nadal, Ashleigh Barty and Daniil Medvedev had been all requested to debate Osaka’s feedback throughout the pre-tournament media day.

Nadal, making an attempt to win his 14th Roland Garros title over the subsequent fortnight, affirmed his “respect” for Osaka and her resolution whereas arguing for the significance of the press in selling sports activities: “I respect it,” mentioned Nadal. “I respect her, in fact, as an athlete and her persona. I respect her resolution. I don’t know. I imply, we as sports activities individuals, I imply, we have to be prepared to just accept the questions and to attempt to produce a solution, no?

“I perceive her, however alternatively, for me, I imply, with out the press, with out the individuals who usually journey, who’re writing the information and achievements that we’re having all over the world, we most likely won’t be the athletes that we’re at present. We [wouldn’t] have the popularity that now we have all over the world, and we won’t be that fashionable, no?”

Barty, the world No 1, mentioned that she views talking with the press as a part of the job: “We all know what we join as skilled tennis gamers. I can’t actually touch upon what Naomi is feeling or her selections she makes. At instances press conferences are arduous, in fact, but it surely’s additionally not one thing that bothers me. I’ve by no means had issues answering questions or being fully trustworthy with you guys. It’s not one thing that’s ever fazed me an excessive amount of.”

Medvedev, the second seed, mentioned that he’s happy along with his press encounters as a result of journalists are but to inform him how he ought to act on-court: “I don’t see any journalist making an attempt to go at me, you realize,” he mentioned. “In fact we all know, for instance, I don’t win so much on clay and I can get loopy. However I didn’t actually have one journalist saying: ‘OK, you shouldn’t do that or that,’ as a result of that’s once I’m going to get loopy. I’m going to say: ‘You can not inform this to me.’”

Medvedev additionally argued that he’s reasonably extra involved by social media abuse, significantly from gamblers, than his interactions within the press room: “Speaking about journalists, me, I’ve no issues. I attempt all the time to return to press convention [whether in a] unhealthy temper or good temper. And I really feel like even typically within the unhealthy temper I might be in a greater temper after speaking to you guys.”

Osaka might have anticipated extra public settlement from her colleagues. On Thursday evening, Sports activities Illustrated journalist Jon Wertheim revealed an e-mail correspondence from Osaka to the French Tennis Federation, affirming her intention to alter the present system.

“This stance is in opposition to the system requiring athletes to be pressured to do press on events when they’re affected by psychological well being,” she wrote. “I consider it’s archaic and in want of reform. After this match I need to work with the Excursions and the governing our bodies to determine how greatest we compromise to alter the system.”

Earlier on Thursday, the French Tennis Federation president, Gilles Moretton, had branded Osaka’s announcement a “phenomenal mistake” and mentioned the match would implement the principles which stipulate that gamers might be fined as much as $20k. Osaka’s absence from the pre-tournament press convention would mark her first rule breach.

The Ladies’s Tennis Affiliation later supplied a press release on Osaka, affirming the significance of psychological well being to the organisation and the position that media performs in its promotion: “The WTA welcomes a dialogue with Naomi (and all gamers) to debate potential approaches that may assist assist an athlete as they handle any considerations associated to psychological well being, whereas additionally permitting us to ship upon our tasks to the followers and public. Skilled athletes have a duty to their sport and their followers to talk to the media surrounding their competitors, permitting them the chance to share their perspective and inform their story.”

In the meantime, the British No 1 Johanna Konta introduced that she grew to become engaged to her boyfriend, Jackson, final Monday on her thirtieth birthday: “We haven’t set a date but. It was a semi shock, I wasn’t fully shocked, I form of anticipated it as soon as the field got here into my hand and I assumed this could possibly be a hoop, all achieved in good humour and all achieved with plenty of love and it was one thing that I’ll all the time suppose again on as actually pretty,” she mentioned.



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