“Better Not to Play the Tournament”: Former World No.7 Takes a Dig at Naomi Osaka

Published 08/20/2021, 2:09 PM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis Training – Ariake Tennis Park, Tokyo, Japan – July 19, 2021 Naomi Osaka of Japan during training REUTERS/Hannah Mckay


World No.2 Naomi Osaka recently lost to Jil Teichmann in the pre-quarters of the Cincinnati Masters 2021. However, what caught everyone’s attention was that she broke down during her pre-tournament press conference. The Japanese star feels a lot of mental pressure while facing press conferences.

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In a recent interview to Tennis365.com, former tennis player Daniela Hantuchova, expressed her views on the issue. She took a firm stance and mentioned that press conferences are also a part of an athlete’s job.

“Press conferences are part of the job, that is why we are called professional athletes… The least you can do as a professional athlete in any sport is to show up for a press conference. It’s not rocket science for half and hour or an hour to talk about what you have just done and a sport you love,” said Hantuchova in the interview.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Women’s Singles – Round 3 – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 27, 2021. Naomi Osaka of Japan walks off after losing her third round match against Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic REUTERS/Mike Segar

She was clearly talking taking a jibe at Naomi Osaka and stated that showing up and answering questions in a press conference is a part of professionalism.

Interestingly, Osaka didn’t turn up for any press conference at the French Open 2021 and later, decided to withdraw from Roland Garros and the Wimbledon Championships 2021.

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Daniela Hantuchova highlights that media has helped Naomi Osaka to make a name in the sport

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Hantuchova emphasized that while Osaka doesn’t want to face the media, she should remember that it has helped her to earn fame. The former Slovak player also remarked that if one can’t turn up for press conferences, she should not play the sport in the first place.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Women’s Singles – Round 2 – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 26, 2021. Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts after winning her second round match against Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland REUTERS/Mike Segar

“The spotlight she (Osaka) has got on her cannot be easy. But doing the press conference is the least any player can do for the tournament… If you feel like you are not ready for a press conference, it is better not to play the tournament at all. Without the media, we wouldn’t be earning that amount of money, it’s as simple as that,” concluded the former World No.7 player.

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It will be intriguing to see how Naomi Osaka handles the press in the future. As of now, she’ll be preparing herself for the US Open 2021 where she’ll fight hard to defend her title. Will she be able to end the year on a high?

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Anshul Singh

1270 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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