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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 have 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 suppose the state of affairs would “trigger this a lot fuss” when she first introduced that she would not be participating in media conferences due to their impression on her psychological well being.

Unlike different sports activities, tennis gamers are breaking by means of 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 typically be “devastating,” in accordance to Evert.

“I feel the press have to take a stand, have to go up one other stage and have some respect,” the 66-year-old advised CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

Osaka looks to her team during her match against Patricia Maria Țig at Roland Garros.

“Fame and fortune at a younger age, and thank god the ladies’s tennis affiliation has assets — psychological well being assets, media coaching assets. There’s assist on the market for these youngsters.

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

Improving the connection between gamers and the media is in the perfect curiosity of everybody, says Evert.

“I feel that everyone has to discuss 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,” including that she would “take a while away from the court docket.”

Osaka revealed she had “suffered lengthy bouts of melancholy” since profitable her first grand slam title in 2018.

Last week, citing psychological well being causes, Osaka had posted on social media she wouldn’t take part in any information conferences through the French Open, hoping that any fines she incurred would go to a psychological well being charity.

Following her straight-sets victory on Sunday within the first spherical, Osaka was fined $15,000 for not speaking to the media, Roland Garros introduced in an announcement.

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 an announcement providing their help to Osaka — however didn’t apologize.

The heads from the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open mentioned they’d supply “help and help” to Osaka whereas persevering with to “enhance the participant expertise at our tournaments.”

Dealing with these typically male-dominated press conferences — one thing Kris Soutar, a marketing consultant for Tennis Scotland and the Judy Murray Foundation, based by the mom of Andy Murray, calls a “vulture pit” — can be intimidating for the gamers, particularly the shedding one.

Seven-time grand slam winner Venus Williams shared her secret for coping with the press after her first-round loss to Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova on the French Open on Tuesday.

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

“No matter what you say or what you write, you may by no means mild a candle to me. So that is how I cope with it. But every particular person offers with it in another way.”

On Tuesday, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic additionally voiced his help for Osaka.

“I help her, I feel she was very courageous to try this,” he mentioned. “I’m actually sorry that she goes by means of painful and struggling mentally as what I’ve heard.

“This was, I have to say, a really daring resolution from her aspect. But she is aware of how she feels finest, and if she wants to take time and replicate and recharge and that is what she wanted to do, and I respect it absolutely. And I hope that she’ll come again sturdy.”

Sheena McKenzie and Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.

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