Naomi Osaka Will Skip Press at 2021 French Open, Cites Mental Health

“I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me,” Osaka says


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Don’t expect to see any interviews from Naomi Osaka at the upcoming French Open. The tennis champ announced Wednesday she will not be doing press at the competition — which begins in Paris this Sunday, May 30 — for the sake of her mental health.

Taking to Twitter, the 23-year-old, who is currently the No. 2 ranked player in the world, shared the reasoning behind her decision.

“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one,” Osaka wrote. “We’re often sat there and asked questions that have been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”

Athletes’ emotions often run high after competing, especially after not performing the way they would’ve liked — and Osaka said she feels certain members of the media take advantage of that.

“I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well. I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they’re down and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it,” she said.

The four-time Grand Slam winner went on to explain that she means no disrespect to the tournament or to the individual journalists she’s developed relationships with over the years.

“However,” she continued, “If the organizations think that they can just keep saying, ‘do press or you’re gonna be fined,’ and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh.”

Osaka concluded her note by saying she hopes the “considerable” amount of fines she’ll be paying for the violation will be donated to mental health charities.

The ball is in your court, American Tennis Association.


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