“Real Shame”: Renowned Tennis Journalist Opens up on Naomi Osaka’s Press Conference Boycott at French Open 2021

Published 05/27/2021, 9:46 AM EDT
Mar 31, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a backhand 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


Yesterday, Naomi Osaka made a big announcement ahead of the upcoming 2021 French Open. The four-time Grand Slam champion said she won’t take part in any press conferences at the French Open, citing they exert undue pressure on the player’s mental health.

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In a Twitter post, Naomi mentioned the questions posed in post-match inquests don’t have any regard for an athlete’s mental health and believes the situation is akin to “kicking a person while they’re down.”

Mar 29, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a backhand against Elise Mertens of Belgium (not pictured) in the fourth round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Sports journalist gives opinion on Naomi Osaka’s decision

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Following her decision, a renowned sports journalist and broadcaster, Simon Cambers, concurred with the WTA star’s statements. Commenting on Osaka‘s post, Cambers expressed that press conferences are particularly tough on the young players.

However, with the WTA investing money to help players learn to deal with multiple media commitments, Cambers feels boycotting media conferences is disgraceful and hopes Osaka’s decision is short-term.

“It is especially difficult for really young players, too. But the @WTA invest a lot of time in helping players learn how best to prepare for media commitments. This is a real shame – hope it is only temporary,” wrote Cambers.

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As per the tournament rules, it requires all players to speak to the media after each match. Refusing to hold a press conference results in a player being handed a fine.

Hence, knowing the authorities would financially penalize her for not taking questions at the forthcoming French Open, Naomi hopes the accrued amount will go towards a mental health charity.

Being one of the most bankable tennis players, Osaka’s presence regularly fills out the press rooms with a field of reporters asking questions in English and Japanese. Therefore, her decision is an enormous setback for the media outlets.

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Meanwhile, Osaka has never gone past the third round at the French since her debut at the clay-court Grand Slam in 2016. During this year’s European clay season, Osaka crashed out in the early rounds in Madrid Open and the Italian Open.

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Kshitij Tayal

393 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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