“Athletes Have a Responsibility”: WTA Hits Back at Naomi Osaka Following Her Media Boycott at French Open 2021

Published 05/28/2021, 5:54 AM EDT
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


World No. 2 Naomi Osaka recently decided that she will not be addressing any press conferences at the French Open 2021. In a recent tweet, the Japanese star mentioned that answering certain questions again and again at these press conferences affects her mental health adversely. As a result, she has decided to boycott the media completely at the Grand Slam.

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Tennis experts and fans have had mixed reactions to this. While some believe that it is the right move, many others are of the opinion that this is not the way to deal with mental pressure and tension.

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The WTA also issued a statement after Naomi Osaka’s decision. They wrote that the mental health of players is a priority for them, and that they even have a team that can help players like Osaka.

“Mental health is of the utmost importance to the WTA and for that matter, every individual person. We have a team of professionals and a support system in place that looks after our athletes’ mental and emotional health and well-being,” wrote the WTA in their statement.

Naomi Osaka hits a forehand against Maria Sakkari at the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The WTA mentioned that it is prepared to initiate a dialogue with Naomi if she is having any trouble on tour. It is even ready to extend all its support to the 4-time Grand Slam champion.

“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,” the statement added.

“Professional athletes have a responsibility to their sport”- WTA to Naomi Osaka

Even though the WTA extended its full support to Osaka, it also criticized her move to avoid press conferences at the French Open 2021. It said that answering questions is the responsibility of the athletes. In addition, it wrote that fans also love to interact with the players during these conferences.

Naomi Osaka reacts after missing a shot against Maria Sakkari in a women’s singles quarterfinal at the Miami Open. Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

“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,” concluded the statement.

The WTA surely doesn’t stand with Osaka on this subject since the statement reflected that Osaka should fulfill her obligation of attending press conferences after her matches.

Naomi Osaka will begin her French Open 2021 campaign against Patricia Maria Pig on Sunday. Although she has not been in great form on clay lately, her fans believe she can succeed there as she has a comparatively easier draw this time. Will the 23-year-old be able to conquer Paris this year?

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DIVE DEEPER

“Nothing but Respect for Your Event”: Naomi Osaka Explains Her Press Conference Boycott to French Open 2021 Organizers

23 days ago

 

 

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Anshul Singh

957 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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