WTA Tour, players react to Naomi Osaka: Talking to media part of job


Naomi Osaka’s declaration that she gained’t take part in information conferences throughout the French Open was a pure, if barely awkward, matter for dialogue on a event media day already awkward by nature as a result of it was carried out by way of video convention.

“I understand why she does it. I respect her opinion,” Daniil Medvedev, the No.2-ranked man in tennis, mentioned on Friday at Roland Garros, echoing a typical sentiment as a parade of the sport’s high players — however not, of course, Osaka — frolicked taking questions from reporters in a pre-competition ritual two days earlier than motion begins.

“Me, I have no problems” coping with journalists, Medvedev added as he responded to a question from a journalist in a single of the afternoon’s navel-gazing moments. “I try always to come to a press conference, bad mood or good mood. And I feel like, even sometimes in the bad mood, I can be in a better mood after talking to you guys.”

Other players, together with 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal and top-ranked girl Ash Barty, and the ladies’s skilled tennis tour mentioned talking to reporters is a requirement of their line of work.

“Without the press … probably we will not be the athletes that we are today,” Nadal mentioned.

“We (aren’t) going to have the recognition that we have around the world, and we will not be that popular, no?”

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion who’s ranked No. 2, mentioned by way of a Twitter submit Wednesday that she was not going to take part in the usual back-and-forth with the media in Paris — the kind of factor each athlete in each sport does usually.

“There’s a lot of truth in what she said, but then again, there’s also the expectations and the commitments that come with being a professional athlete, as well, and this is one,” mentioned Johanna Konta, a three-time main semifinalist ranked twentieth, “so it’s about finding … the right balance.”

At Grand Slam tournaments, players are topic to fines of up to USD 20,000 for skipping information conferences if they’re requested to communicate and don’t.

That’s not a lot of a disincentive for Osaka, the world’s highest-earning feminine athlete, who framed it as a psychological well being difficulty and mentioned she hopes no matter comes out of her prize cash could be donated to a charity in that space.

“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,” Osaka wrote.

On Friday, the WTA Tour reminded Osaka of her “responsibility” to work together with reporters.

A press release emailed to The Associated Press on Friday by a WTA spokeswoman and attributed to the tour learn in part: “The WTA welcomes a dialogue with Naomi (and all players) to discuss possible approaches that can help support an athlete as they manage any concerns related to mental health, while also allowing us to deliver upon our responsibilities to the fans and public. Professional athletes have a responsibility to their sport and their fans to speak to the media surrounding their competition, allowing them the opportunity to share their perspective and tell their story.”

The French Tennis Federation didn’t reply to a request for remark.

“In my opinion, press is kind of part of the job. We know what we sign up for as professional tennis players. … At times, press conference are hard, of course, but it’s also not something that bothers me. … For me, personally, doesn’t keep me up at night what I say and hear or what you guys ask me. So I try and make it a little bit lighter and have a bit of fun with you guys,” mentioned Barty, the 2019 French Open champion.

“For me, it’s a little bit different, but I can’t comment on (Osaka) personally for what she’s going through,” Barty mentioned, “so I suppose you’ll have to ask her that next time you chat to her.”

Who is aware of when that can be?


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