“Takes Her Media Obligations Too Seriously”: Former Japanese No. 1 Speaks on Naomi Osaka

Published 11/01/2021, 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)


Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka is one of the most notable personalities in women’s tennis. However, she has had to deal with mental struggles during the 2021 season. During the French Open this year, the 24-year-old player announced that she would not interact with the media as it negatively affected her mental health. 

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Recently, former Japanese top-ranked player Kimiko Date spoke about the Naomi Osaka situation. She felt that the four-time Grand Slam winner takes the media too seriously and, at times, can avoid answering certain questions that make her feel uncomfortable. 

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The former World No. 4 player stated, “You can deal with the media in many ways; you can say everything to them, or a little bit or nothing. I get the impression Osaka actually takes her media obligations too seriously. Maybe she thinks she has to answer all their questions and so feels pressure that way. I really understand her feeling.”

The worldwide fame of Naomi Osaka adds pressure, feels Date 

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During her career, Kimiko managed to reach the semifinal of every Grand Slam besides the US Open. She won eight titles in singles. After her, it is Naomi Osaka who is carrying the mantle of their nation on the WTA Tennis. However, she feels with Naomi’s popularity and the rise of social media, the pressure is extremely high on the 24-year-old. 

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)

The 51-year-old added, “When I was rising in the rankings, it was mainly just the Japanese media and there was no internet then, but everything Osaka does is reported worldwide, so the pressure she feels is so much greater. I think all the top players are affected by stress that affects their mental health, but they have to find a way to deal with these problems. You can’t refuse to attend press conferences just because you lose. You have to find a way to deal with the media.”

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Coming to tennis, Osaka was last seen at the US Open. After being unable to defend her title, she decided to take a break. We wish her the very best for her future endeavors and for the upcoming season. 

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

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Rohan Kollare

1363 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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