Sport 'Disappointment and anger': Tennis reacts to Osaka

00:26  01 june  2021
00:26  01 june  2021 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

Strongarm reaction to Osaka's major boycott

  Strongarm reaction to Osaka's major boycott The French Tennis Federation has come up with a tough reaction to Naomi Osaka's planned press boycott.That's according to Australian tennis great Todd Woodbridge, with Osaka facing the prospect of being the first star knocked out of the French Open if she doesn't aim up.

Naomi Osaka's decision to withdraw from Roland Garros, sparked by a media standoff and mental health issues, has prompted an outpouring of reaction across tennis and world sport.

Osaka quit the French Open after boycotting her first round press conference, as planned; which saw her fined and threatened with disqualification in a joint statement by the four Grand Slams. Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam winner and the world No.2, revealed that she had suffered major depression and anxiety issues in the past few years, partly triggered by media appearances.

Veteran Sports Illustrated tennis journalist Jon Wertheim wrote that there was "disappointment and even anger" at the outcome, saying that it could be "a watershed moment" for the sport's attitude to mental health.

Osaka 'thinks she is bigger than the game'

  Osaka 'thinks she is bigger than the game' Naomi Osaka's Roland-Garros ban shows a complete lack of respect, writes Craig Gabriel in Paris.That did not change her attitude and after her first-round match in Paris, which she won over Patricia Maria Tig of Romania 6-4, 7-6, she carried out the pre-meditated directive she announced. There were two TV requests for her, one of those with the Japanese host broadcaster WowWow as well as a post-match media conference.

"My first thought was one of profound empathy for Osaka. My next was of deep disappointment, because it shouldn't have come to this," he wrote. "Anyone who knows Osaka knows she isn't entitled or a grandstander as she has been portrayed. You had a feeling she did not realise how quickly this situation would escalate.

'The four majors got together - something they famously don't do often - and released a harsh, even menacing and humiliating statement, essentially threatening to ban her. To use a French word, a little nuance would have been nice."

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Naomi Osaka holding a racket: Naomi Osaka serves in her first round match at Roland Garros. © Getty Naomi Osaka serves in her first round match at Roland Garros.

Wertheim reported that Osaka "was very emotional after suffering a loss in Miami" and noted her struggles on clay courts. He added: "One irony: she had always been something of a media darling. Her press conferences were inevitably engaging and different, and I think a lot of us in the press room were surprised to hear this was the source of so much anxiety."

How US Open 'scar tissue' weighed on Osaka

  How US Open 'scar tissue' weighed on Osaka The 2018 US Open saw Naomi Osaka suddenly thrust into the spotlight that she was ill-prepared to cope with.Osaka this morning made the bombshell announcement that she was withdrawing from Roland-Garros, revealing her ongoing struggles with depression.

Champions from both tennis and the broader sporting community weighed in, including Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Stephen Curry.

"You shouldn't ever have to make a decision like this - but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don't protect their own. Major respect @naomiosaka," NBA megastar Curry wrote on Twitter.

King posted: "It's incredibly brave that Naomi Osaka has revealed her truth about her struggle with depression. Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs. We wish her well."


Former men's top 10 player Mardy Fish said that mental health had to be treated more seriously, referencing his own struggles.

"Mental health is nothing to criticise. Nothing to joke about. Pls take your mental health seriously. Without my support system, I truly believe I would not be here today. Here for you @naomiosaka," Fish posted on Twitter.

Why there's nowhere for Naomi Osaka to run

  Why there's nowhere for Naomi Osaka to run There's nowhere to run and no place to hide for Naomi Osaka, traveling the world and playing on the biggest stages in tennis. © Getty Naomi Osaka was fined after boycotting her post-match media conference at Roland-Garros. Some of the questions may be repetitive. Some may even be a bit negative, though for the most part those in the tennis media tend to treat top players with kid gloves. Regardless, it's part of her job to answer them.

Other tennis media figures also weighed in.

"This entire situation is a mess. Terrible look for everybody involved tbh. And terrible for the sport," Jose Morgado, a Portuguese writer and commentator, said on Twitter.

New York Times contributor Ben Rothenberg wrote on Twitter: "This was a rough saga, but I think this was the best call for Naomi, unfortunate as it is for her and for tennis. If she's not in a headspace to be under pressures of a Slam, best thing she can do is remove herself from that high-stress environment and focus on her well-being."

Another tennis writer, Hannah Wilks, reacted furiously.

"I'd like to congratulate all four Grand Slams on handling this the worst, most insensitive way possible. You really outdid yourself this time, tennis," she wrote on Twitter.

a close up of Naomi Osaka holding a racket: Naomi Osaka in her first round match against Patricia Maria Tig at Roland Garros. © Getty Naomi Osaka in her first round match against Patricia Maria Tig at Roland Garros.

Veteran French tennis journalist Carole Bouchard defended the media's position in the Osaka controversy. She pointed out that Roland Garros press conferences this year were not face-to-face but via digital conferencing.

Judy Murray backs Naomi Osaka after her French Open withdrawal

  Judy Murray backs Naomi Osaka after her French Open withdrawal Murray, mother to Grand Slam winners Andy and Jamie, says she completely understands Osaka's anxiety about facing the media, adding the media demands on tennis players are high.The 23-year-old from Japan said last week she didn't want to take part in press conferences at Roland Garros to 'protect her mental health'.

"Osaka posting the message that she should have posted from the start. Absolutely a pity for her, the tournament and the media here. And should have been avoided," she wrote on Twitter.

"I've said from start that had she come and said she was struggling mentally, it'd have been much different. I still don't get why it was first presented as if she was under media attack and we were terrible people. I'll miss her here. But maybe we had to go through that.

"Also a pity that a solution wasn't just to walk back into that press room where, as she said, the press has always been kind to her. Tennis would have given her that peace of mind here, there was no need to start all of this. Everyone lost in the end. Hope to see her back in Wimbledon.

"Finally, I'm happy the Tour hold firm on its own rules. Btw for those who don't know: there's no media in the Roland-Garros press rooms this year again due to covid. We're all on virtual mode, even those of us who are on site."

Australian tennis commentator and former player Rennae Stubbs had one word: "WOW."

Former player turned coach and commentator Brad Gilbert said that he hoped Osaka would return for Wimbledon in a month's time.


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Osaka gives tantalising clue to Wimbledon plans .
Naomi Osaka has dropped a big hint about her immediate playing future, as attention turns to Wimbledon later this month.The German Open was due to be her only grass-court tournament prior to the year's third major.

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