“Media Is Not Their Enemy”: Former British No. 1 Dissects Naomi Osaka’s Media Resistance

Published 06/20/2021, 9:22 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 24: Naomi Osaka of Japan speaks to media following her Women’s Singles third round defeat to Coco Gauff of the United States of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)


In the women’s game, Naomi Osaka has climbed places due to her success. In recent years, she has registered impressive results that have helped her win the biggest prizes in the game. Everything was going well for the Japanese player until the French Open 2021 came around.

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Just before the French Open 2021, Osaka released a statement on social media stating that she would not take part in post-match press conferences as she was dealing with mental health issues, culminating in the Japanese withdrawing from the tournament before her second-round match. Her decision received mixed reactions from the people involved in the sport.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first-round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Recently, former British No. 1 player Annabel Croft spoke on this topic and stated, “I interviewed Naomi when she was very young and I could see that she was uncomfortable with it. Naomi has used the term mental health to describe this problem and we have to respect what she said and show understanding for what she is going through, but she has never liked doing the press and the media.”

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Naomi Osaka has felt uneasy with the media in the past too

Croft revealed that members within the media are considering bringing changes in their strategy of interacting with players. She also remembered when she’d interviewed Naomi in the past and had sensed her discomfort. The Briton also went on to make it clear that the media is not the enemy.

Mar 31, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts after missing a shot against Maria Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) in a women’s singles quarterfinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The 54-year-old added, “Despite that, the media loved talking to her, but now things have changed and after what happened in Paris, we are all talking about the relationship between tennis players, the media, and whether we need to change how press conferences work. I’m very sad that Naomi feels like this, but players need to understand that the media are not their enemy.”

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— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 26, 2021

 

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In further developments, the Japanese star has decided to skip the Wimbledon Championships this year. She will next be seen at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, which will begin in the last week of July. It will be interesting to see how she performs once she’s back on the women’s Tour.

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Rohan Kollare

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Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and 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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