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Sport 'Devastating' truth behind Osaka bombshell

01:16  03 june  2021
01:16  03 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.

Chris Evert knows what it's like adjusting to life as a tennis superstar at at young age.

The tennis great won her first two Grand Slams aged just 19 in 1974 and she topped the computer rankings when they were introduced on November 1975, going on to hold the top spot for a total of 260 weeks.

Now Evert is lending her support to Naomi Osaka after the world No.2 withdrew from the French Open on Monday (Tuesday AEST) citing her mental health.

The 18-time Grand Slam winner suggests that Osaka didn't think the situation would "cause this much fuss" when she first announced that she wouldn't be taking part in media conferences because of their impact on her mental health.

Osaka's bombshell Roland Garros withdrawal

  Osaka's bombshell Roland Garros withdrawal Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from Roland Garros the day after being fined for skipping media duties, revealing depression.Osaka won her round one match against Patricia Tig on the opening day of the French Open but went through with her announced press boycott. It earned her a $US15,000 fine and the threat of default from the Grand Slam event.

Unlike other sports, tennis players are breaking through at an increasingly young age, with many appearing on the biggest stage as teenagers.

Which is why the media need to "have some respect" because fame at such a young age can often be "devastating", according to Evert.

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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.

"I think the press have to take a stand, have to go up another level and have some respect," the 66-year-old told CNN's Chris Cuomo.

"Fame and fortune at a young age, and thank god the women's tennis association has resources -- mental health resources, media training resources. There's help out there for these kids.

'Disappointment and anger': Tennis reacts to Osaka

  'Disappointment and anger': Tennis reacts to Osaka Naomi Osaka's decision to withdraw from Roland Garros has prompted an outpouring of reaction across tennis.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.

"But when you come from a very close-knit family, very modest upbringing and all of a sudden you're the most famous athlete in the world and you're the highest winner of money and trophies in the world, your life changes and it can be quite devastating also.

"Improving the relationship between players and the media is in the best interest of everyone, says Evert.

"I think that everybody has to talk about a solution to make this a healthy environment for the players to go into, because we're all in this together to promote the sport."

a close up of Naomi Osaka holding a racket: Naomi Osaka hits a backhand in the first round at Roland Garros. © Getty Naomi Osaka hits a backhand in the first round at Roland Garros.

On Monday, Osaka said in her statement that she would be withdrawing from the 2021 French Open so that "everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris," adding that she would "take some time away from the court."


Video: Nadal outclasses young Aussie (Wide World of Sports)

Legend fears for Osaka's career after French exit

  Legend fears for Osaka's career after French exit The leaders of the four Grand Slams have reacted to tennis star Naomi Osaka's stunning Roland Garros exit.The pledge came in a statement signed by the same four tennis administrators who threatened the possibility of disqualification or suspension for Osaka on Sunday if she continued to skip news conferences.

Osaka revealed she had "suffered long bouts of depression" since winning her first grand slam title in 2018.Last week, citing mental health reasons, Osaka had posted on social media she would not participate in any news conferences during the French Open, hoping that any fines she incurred would go to a mental health charity.

Following her straight-sets victory on Sunday in the first round, Osaka was fined $15,000 for not talking to the media, Roland Garros announced in a statement.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the four Grand Slams released a statement offering their support to Osaka -- but did not apologise.

The heads from the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open said they would offer "support and assistance" to Osaka while continuing to "improve the player experience at our tournaments."

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.

Dealing with these often male-dominated press conferences -- something Kris Soutar, a consultant for Tennis Scotland and the Judy Murray Foundation, founded by the mother of Andy Murray, calls a "vulture pit" -- can be intimidating for the players, in particular the losing one.

Naomi Osaka WON'T be given special treatment at Wimbledon this month

  Naomi Osaka WON'T be given special treatment at Wimbledon this month Osaka has since returned to her home in Los Angeles as she begins her break from tennis, which has led to speculation whether or not she will compete at Wimbledon later this month.The Japanese star pulled out at Roland Garros after refusing to attend mandatory post-match press conferences and revealing she had been suffering from bouts of depression for three years.

Seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams shared her secret for dealing with the press after her first-round loss to Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova at the French Open on Tuesday.

"I know every single person asking me a question can't play as well as I can and never will," the 40-year-old Williams said.

"No matter what you say or what you write, you'll never light a candle to me. So that's how I deal with it. But each person deals with it differently."

On Tuesday, world No.1 Novak Djokovic also voiced his support for Osaka.

"I support her, I think she was very brave to do that," he said. "I'm really sorry that she is going through painful and suffering mentally as what I've heard.

"This was, I must say, a very bold decision from her side. But she knows how she feels best, and if she needs to take time and reflect and recharge and that's what she needed to do, and I respect it fully. And I hope that she'll come back strong."

*This story originally appeared on CNN and was reproduced with permission

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Sponsorship masterstroke behind Osaka withdrawal .
A few years ago, a star athlete dropping out of a tournament over mental health might have been seen as a sign of weakness. Today, at least for Naomi Osaka's corporate sponsors, it is being hailed as refreshingly honest.That would explain why so many of them have stuck by Osaka after the four-time Grand Slam champion announced Monday that she was withdrawing from the French Open because she didn’t want to appear for the requisite news conferences that caused her “huge waves of anxiety.

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