Naomi Osaka is a Japanese professional tennis player. Osaka has been ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association and is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles. She is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion and has been the reigning champion at the US Open and the Australian Open.
What Caused A Stir?
Naomi Osaka caused a stir in the tennis world by refusing to appear in front of the media during the ongoing French Open Roland-Garros tournament – and later quit the whole tournament after being fined for the decision.
She came down particularly hard on her post-match interactions saying that, ‘whole situation is kicking a person when they are down. I don’t understand the reasoning behind it.‘
However, French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Gilles Moreton said, “It is a phenomenal error and it shows to what extent it is necessary to have strong governance.” He further added, “What is happening is not, in my opinion, acceptable. It is tennis we want to promote.”
Should She Be Called Arrogant?
She said she would no longer appear at press conferences to protect her mental health. But, never short of an opinion, Piers Morgan blasted her in his Mail Online column, calling her an “arrogant spoiled brat whose fame and fortune appears to have inflated her ego to gigantic proportions”.
Piers, who previously landed in hot water for branding Meghan Markle liar over her suicide claims, used the Duchess of Sussex in blasting Naomi. He tweeted “*New Column: Narcissistic Naomi’s cynical exploitation of mental health to silence the media is right from the Meghan & Harry playbook of wanting their press cake and eating it.”
Piers argued, “She attacked the media for doing their job. This week, without media support, tennis would not be the big sport it is & the players wouldn’t be rich famous stars.”
Naomi Osaka is likely to be fined up to $US15,000 for every news conference she skips. She has decided to donate any fines to mental health charities.
“I have often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one,” Osaka said on Twitter.
In a statement on Monday, Osaka said she did not want her stance to become a distraction and said that she had been dealing with mental health issues since 2018.
Is Mental Health A Valid Reason To Withdraw?
Earlier, Osaka, a four-time major winner, ranked No. 2 on the WTA Tour, in a social media post, stated, “People have no regard for athletes’ mental health. This rings 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. I’m not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”
In a press statement the Grand Slam Tournaments, added, “We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences, including default from the tournament.”
After Monday’s unexpected development, Serena Williams in support of Naomi said, “The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could hug her because I know what it’s like. As I said, I’ve been in those positions. We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick (skinned). Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently.”
French Open organizers were slammed on social media after the official account of Roland Garros posted a tweet, mocking Naomi Osaka’s media boycott. The tweet was deleted later after backlash on Twitter.
Roland Garro’s account posted a sub-tweet, appreciating the likes of Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Aryna Sabalenka, and Coco Gauff attending press conferences at the Roland Garros. French Open captioned the post: “They understood their assignments.”
Although it is a sudden decision, it is her personal decision and for her betterment. As an international athlete, mental health is at stake at all times. For athletes, it isn’t just the physical but also mental well-being that matters. Mental Health is not taboo anymore, it is acknowledged and understood.
Image Credit: Google Images
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This post is tagged under: Naomi Osaka, Japan, French Open, Piers Morgan, Meghan Markle, Arrogant, Fine, Media Issues, Press Conference, Tennis Tournament, Mental Health, Money, Depression, Twitter, Chaos, Backlashing, Serena Williams, Nadal, US Open, Aus Open, Tennis News, Mental Health toll