ITF Chief Calls for ‘Mutual Understanding’ Between Players and Media After Naomi Osaka Saga

Published 11/02/2021, 10:00 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 03: Naomi Osaka of Japan looks dejected during her match against Leylah Fernandez of Canada in the third round of the women’s singles at the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)


Naomi Osaka has had a tumultuous 2021 season. The Japanese tennis star started the year on a high, winning the Australian Open. Osaka picked up her 4th career Grand Slam and defeated Serena Williams on her way. However, since then, things have not gone as planned for the Japanese player. Prior to the French Open 2021, she revealed that she would not be attending post-match press conferences.

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The reason behind Naomi Osaka‘s decision was due to the fact she was dealing with mental health issues. Her decision spiralled into a controversy and Osaka ended up withdrawing from the tournament, and the subsequent Wimbledon Championships. 

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Recently, ITF Chief David Haggerty spoke about the situation and felt that it is a give and take situation between the media and the players.

He stated, “We are champions for having people sit at the table and talk about what’s the best way. But to move forward we think it’s important that the players are covered by the media and the media are covering our events, so it’s important that continues. It’s just getting that right balance, that mutual understanding between players and journalists and tournaments and all the stakeholders together.”

Naomi Osaka should bring her points to the table 

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According to the Chief, it is important for players and journalists to be on the same page. They all contribute towards the larger interests of the sport. Therefore, it is only wise for players like Osaka to clear their doubts so that there are not any obstacles such as these. 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 03: Leylah Fernandez (R) of Canada meets at the net after defeating Naomi Osaka (L) of Japan during her Women’s Singles third round match on Day Five of the US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Since it is a two-way street, it’s also important that those in the media realize their responsibility towards treating athletes with empathy and understanding. 

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Coming to tennis, Naomi has not been seen on the Tour since she lost at the US Open 2021. Sadly, she was unable to defend her title and crashed out in the initial rounds. Soon after, she decided to take an ‘indefinite’ break. We hope to see her come back stronger and rejuvenated for the upcoming 2022 season. 

Watch this story: The Journey of Roger Federer to the Elite Billionaire’s Club

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Rohan Kollare

1351 articles

Rohan Kollare is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Rohan has studied Sports Management and has a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering Tennis and Formula One.

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