World number one Ashleigh Barty is the latest star to announce she will not join in with a press boycott at this year’s French Open, following comments made by Naomi Osaka.
Four-time Grand Slam winner Osaka has sent shockwaves across the tennis community after revealing that she’ll refuse to take part in any media activity throughout the tournament, irrespective of any fines imposed.
The Japanese star believes that post-match press conferences generally involve “kicking people when they are down”, which can have an impact on athletes’ mental health.
The world number two faces a hefty fine, but says she hopes the money will be given to a “mental health charity.”
Osaka’s main rival Ashleigh Barty has now had her say on the matter and admitted that she thinks media duties are “part and parcel of the job.”
“We know what we sign up for as professional tennis players,” the Australian stressed.
While the tournament’s top seed conceded that she couldn’t possibly say what Osaka is going through personally, the 25-year-old said it’s not something that has ever fazed her during her career.
“I can’t comment on what Naomi is feeling or her decisions she makes. At times press conferences are hard of course but it’s also not something that bothers me.
“I’ve never had problems answering questions. It’s not something that’s ever fazed me too much.
“And it certainly doesn’t keep me up at night what I say and hear or what you guys ask me.”
Similarly, one of Osaka’s closest friends and defending Roland-Garros champion, Iga Świątek, emphasised that she had no problems speaking to the media.
“It’s important because not everybody is a professional athlete and not everybody knows what we are dealing with on the court. It’s good to speak about that,” the 19-year-old said.
Osaka faces Romania’s Patricia Maria Țig in the first round of the French Open next week.
Meanwhile, Świątek and Barty are in the same half of the draw and will play Kaja Juvan and Bernarda Pera respectively.