Naomi Osaka: ‘It can be devastating to adjust to fame and fortune,’ says tennis great Chris Evert

The tennis great received her first two grand slams aged simply 19 in 1974 and she topped the pc rankings after they had been launched on November 1975, happening to maintain the highest spot for a complete of 260 weeks.
Now Evert is lending her help to Naomi Osaka after the world No. 2 withdrew from the French Open on Monday citing her psychological well being.

The 18-time grand slam winner means that Osaka did not assume the state of affairs would “cause this much fuss” when she first introduced that she would not be collaborating in media conferences due to their affect on her psychological well being.

Unlike different sports activities, tennis gamers are breaking by at an more and more younger age, with many showing on the largest stage as youngsters.

Which is why the media want to “have some respect” as a result of fame at such a younger age can usually be “devastating,” in accordance to Evert.

“I think the press have to take a stand, have to go up another level and have some respect,” the 66-year-old advised 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.

“But while you come from a really shut knit household, very modest upbringing and abruptly you are essentially the most well-known athlete on the planet and you are the best winner of cash and trophies on the planet, your life adjustments and it can be fairly devastating additionally.”

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

“I feel that everyone has to speak about an answer to make this a wholesome setting for the gamers to go into, as a result of we’re all on this collectively to promote the game.”

Osaka serves against Patricia Maria Tig at the 2021 French Open.


On Monday, Osaka mentioned in her assertion that she would be withdrawing from the 2021 French Open in order that “everybody can get again to specializing in the tennis happening in Paris,” adding that she would “take a while away from the court docket.”

Osaka revealed she had “suffered lengthy bouts of despair” 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.

Osaka attends a press conference during day six of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix at Porsche-Arena on April 27, 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany.
On Tuesday, the leaders of the 4 grand slams released a statement offering their support to Osaka — but did not apologize.

The heads from the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open said they would offer “help and help” to Osaka while continuing to “enhance the participant expertise at our tournaments.”

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.

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 do know each single individual asking me a query can’t play in addition to I can and by no means will,” the 40-year-old Williams said.

“No matter what you say or what you write, you may by no means mild a candle to me. So that is how I take care of it. But every individual offers with it in a different way.”

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

“I help her, I feel she was very courageous to do this,” he said. “I’m actually sorry that she goes by painful and struggling 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.”

Sheena McKenzie and Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.

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