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

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

She has since revealed that she “suffered lengthy bouts of despair” 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 assist for Osaka by commenting on her Instagram submit, with the latter writing, “So pleased with you. Take care of your self and see you again successful quickly!”

During her post-match media convention 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams mentioned: “The solely factor I really feel is that I really feel for Naomi. I really feel like I want I might give her a hug as a result of I do know what it is like. Like I mentioned, I’ve been in these positions.”

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

“Press and gamers and the tournaments comes hand-in-hand,” two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka mentioned. “I believe it is crucial in creating our sport, in selling 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 skin, sponsors and everybody. You simply have to in some way handle it,” Kenin added.

Osaka wears a protective face mask with the name Ahmaud Arbery stenciled on it after winning her women's singles third round match against Marta Kostyuk of the Ukraine on day five of the 2020 US Open.

An outdated observe?

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’m not a pure public speaker and get big waves of hysteria earlier than I communicate to the world’s media,” Osaka mentioned in her assertion on-line.

In the Guardian, Jonathan Liew described media conferences as “not a significant trade” however quite “a cynical and infrequently predatory sport,” the place athletes are subjected to “intimate questions within 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 advised everybody to communicate out in opposition to the injustices of this world, she’s determined to clam up, refusing to do press conferences on the French Open … whereas being glad sufficient to pocket the tens of millions of {dollars} in prize cash being provided by the very event and authorities physique she’s flipping the fowl to.”


Traditional press within the age of social media

However, some have pointed out the best way Black girls scrutinized when revealing their psychological well being difficulties to the media, drawing parallels between Meghan Markle’s therapy 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 method for athletes to get their voice on the market, with on-line platforms creating an avenue for gamers to talk instantly with followers, and management their very own narrative.

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