Naomi Osaka: Star will not speak to press at French Open over mental health concerns

Osaka

World number two Naomi Osaka says she will not speak to the press at this year’s French Open because of the impact news conferences have on player welfare.

In a statement on Twitter, the 23-year-old posted an honest message to her fans, stressing how she feels there is “no regard for athletes’ mental health” during these interviews.

The four-time major champion elaborated to say she believes “the whole situation is kicking a person while they’re down.”

Although Osaka emphasised she has nothing against Roland-Garros itself, the Japanese star made it clear that she is standing up against threats that players will be fined if they don’t engage with media duties.

If a fine is imposed on the tournament’s second seed, then Osaka hopes the “considerable amount” will go towards a mental health charity.

Other renowned names have been quick to support the tennis prodigy regarding this issue. Ellen DeGeneres wrote “Sending you so much love and support”, while other famous sportspeople also rushed to Osaka’s defence.

200 metre World Champion Dina Asher-Smith posted her own response on Twitter, affirming that “This is so correct. I support this.”

The 25-year-old continued by saying: “But some try to find, and at times create, cracks in your psychology. Some try to ignite a storm by using your name on a random topic and it’s not okay!!!”

Asher-Smith finished by exemplifying that athletes are “people too” and used the hashtag “#BeKind”.

The French Open authorities are yet to respond, but it will be intriguing to see what the repercussions will be for Osaka and who else will come out in support of the tennis star.

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