Serena wants to give Osaka a hug; others label world No. 2 a ‘princess’

Osaka’s departure from the match follows her choice not to take part in any media conferences at Roland Garros, initially citing psychological well being causes.

She has since revealed that she “suffered long bouts of depression” after successful her first grand slam title in 2018.

Fellow sports activities stars together with Usain Bolt, Kyrie Irving and Venus Williams slso confirmed their help for Osaka by commenting on her Instagram submit, with the latter writing, “So proud of you. Take care of yourself and see you back winning soon!”

During her post-match media convention 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams mentioned: “The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions.”

However, different tennis stars have mentioned media duties are half and parcel of the job.

“Press and players and the tournaments comes hand-in-hand,” two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka mentioned. “I think it’s very important in developing our sport, in promoting our sport.”

She added that there have been moments when the media wanted to be extra empathetic.

World No. 5 Sofia Kenin acknowledged the pressures of being a younger athlete within the highlight, however mentioned, “This is what you signed up for.”

“This is sport. There’s expectations from the outside, sponsors and everyone. You just have to somehow manage it,” Kenin added.

An outdated apply?

Osaka’s withdrawal has sparked questions concerning the relationship athletes have with the media, and whether or not or not press conferences function on the expense of their psychological well being.

“I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media,” Osaka mentioned in her assertion on-line.

In the Guardian, Jonathan Liew described media conferences as “no longer a meaningful exchange” however relatively “a cynical and often predatory game,” the place athletes are subjected to “intimate questions in the least intimate setting.”

Other journalists took a much less sympathetic stance.

“The immaturity, preciousness and hypocrisy of Naomi Osaka leaves me speechless,” wrote Will Swanton within the Australian.

“Having told everyone to speak out against the injustices of this world, she’s decided to clam up, refusing to do press conferences at the French Open … while being happy enough to pocket the millions of dollars in prize money being offered by the very tournament and government body she’s flipping the bird to.”

Osaka celebrates after beating Tig during their women's singles first round match in the French Open.

Traditional press within the age of social media

However, some have pointed out the best way Black ladies scrutinized when revealing their psychological well being difficulties to the media, drawing parallels between Meghan Markle’s remedy by the British tabloids.

Osaka’s withdrawal additionally poses a wider debate of whether or not or not athletes nonetheless want conventional media within the age of social media.

Press conferences and different long-established media environments are not the one manner for athletes to get their voice on the market, with on-line platforms creating an avenue for gamers to talk immediately with followers, and management their very own narrative.

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