Japan’s Naomi Osaka left Roland Garros after the organizers kept threatening to disqualify her for skipping on media duties. The 23-year-old posted a note on social media clearly explaining why she did not want to do any press conference. The athlete addressed how the unnecessary questions from the media make her uncomfortable. She mentioned that she always felt that some people were disrespectful about an athlete’s mental health.
It seemed that the journalists enjoyed watching her in a state of doubt or sadness. Osaka compared it with feeling like getting kicked repeatedly without any reason. She said how the organizers ignored her mental health and forced her to do the press conference or pay a fine. She gladly took the opportunity to pay the fine and preserve her mental health. Moreover, she hoped that a large amount of fine would be given to some mental health charity.
World number 2 was fined 15,000 USD when she did not partake in a press conference after defeating Patricia Maria Tig (Romania), in her first-round win on Sunday (30th May). Moreover, they threatened to ban her if she continues to avoid facing the media.
Naomi Osaka Receives Support from the World
Many have questioned why it was such a big deal that Osaka did not want to do a press conference? They felt that athletes’ priority is to stay fit for the game and not for the camera. They despised the media and organizers for making it so controversial that Osaka had to leave the tournament altogether.
Many on social media have felt a familiar treatment from sports authorities when it comes to athletes of color. The inbred racial intolerance of many people in the sports industry seems to be affecting many careers for years.
Some noted how Osaka’s situation was similar to most women who face criticism whenever they experience mental health issues. Here are some things to know about this life-threatening problem that most people overlook. Her supporters explained how it is normal for men or other power-wielding authorities to constantly undermine a women’s depression in pursuit of their own selfish desires.
The most important decision would most logically be to respect the wishes of Naomi Osaka instead of penalizing her for coming clean about her mental health.
Osaka has won many admirers with her phenomenal tennis game and good heart. Earlier this year, a video went viral in which she displayed an act of kindness after encountering a butterfly during a match.
How Media Triggered Naomi’s Anxiety?
The 4-time Grand Slam champion opened up about her struggles with depression, which dated back to her first Grand Slam title win against the 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams (America) in the final of the US Open. William’s dispute with the chair umpire overshadowed Osaka’s victory and sparked a great controversy globally. An Australian also cartoonist made a discriminatory sketch of Serena Williams and paparazzi with racially intolerant nature pursued the controversy with every angle.
However, Serena sent apologies to Osaka for her behavior and congratulated her for the win. Osaka had no problem with Serena’s dispute with the umpire but the media aftermath haunted her for years after that incident. She said that she suffered rounds of depression ever since winning the first Grand Slam due to answering ill-advised questions from journalists.
Williams has also supported Osaka’s decision to withdraw from the tournament as the authorities and media failed to recognize the wellbeing of athletes.
Authorities try to Apologize to Osaka
After facing scathing criticism on social media for downplaying Naomi’s mental health and fining her, the organizers came forward to apologize. The French Tennis Federation (FFT) said Naomi Osaka withdrawing from Roland Garros was unfortunate. The president of FFT read from a paper that they were sorry and left without taking questions.
The fact that one of the best athletes in the world would rather quit a tournament over talking to the press scratched some serious wounds. It says less about Osaka but more about those who attack female artists needlessly for their own amusement.