Martina Navratilova has deleted a tweet which said Naomi Osaka’s media bo-yc-ott had ‘inadvertently made her situation w*rse.’ Osaka pulled out of the French Open on Monday amid back-lash over her decision not to speak to the press during the tournament on ‘me*tal health’ grounds.
Navratilova, and 18-time Grand Slam singles champion, tweeted: ‘Kudos to Naomi Osaka for caring so much about the other players.’While she tried to make a situation better for herself and others, she inadvertently made it worse. Hope this solution, pulling out, as b**tal as it is, will allow her to start healing and take care of her SELF.’
Navratilova later delet-ed her tweet, as stars and public figures including Selena Williams and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rallied around to support Osaka.
Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, 23, announced her decision to dro* out of the competition a day after being fined $15,000 for not attending a post-match media conference and thre-aten-ed with ex*uls!on after her first-round win.
The Japanese player, cited the ne-gat-ive impact on her mental wellbeing caused by facing journalists at post-match press conferences as the reason for her boy*ott.
She wrote on Twitter that she had suffe-red ‘long bouts of de-pre-ssion’ since winning the US Open in 2018. Navratilova later followed up her deleted tweet, posting another saying she was saddened that Osaka had quit the tournament. ‘I am so sad about Naomi Osaka. I truly hope she will be okay. As athletes we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the men*al and emotional aspect gets short shrift,’ Navratilova wrote.
‘This is about more than doing or not doing a press conference. Good luck Naomi – we are all pulling for you,’ she added. The tone was significantly different to commentary aired on the Tennis Channel on Sunday when, instead of publicly supporting Osaka, she said the player’s issue ‘is not a men*al health !ss*e and is a mental issue’ before telling her to ‘woman up’.
The French Open was also cri*** for posting a tweet, which it has since delet-ed with photos of Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff engaging in media duties with the caption: ‘They understo-od the assignment.’
Gilles Moretton, French Tennis Fe!eration president, said in a statement the FFT was ‘sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka.’ ‘The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfort-unate. We wish her the best and quick*est possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our Tournament next year,’ Moretton’s statement read.
‘As all the Grand Sl*ms, the WTA, the ATP and the ITF, we remain very committed to all athletes’ wellbeing and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our Tournament, including with the Media, like we have always str-ived to do.’ Osaka said she decided to withdraw from the Grand Slam tournament because she did not want to become a ‘dis*ract!on’.
In a statement on her social media Osaka said: ‘I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to f*cus!ng on the tennis going on in Paris.
‘I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly I would never trivialize men*al health or use the term lightly. ‘The truth is that I have suff-ered long b*uts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really ha*d time coping with that.
Anyone that knows me knows I’m i!tro*erted, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps d-ull my social anxiety. ‘Though the tennis press has always been kind to me and I wanna apologize especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hu*t, I am not a natural public speaker and get h-uge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media.
‘So here in Paris I was already feeling vul*era!le and an*ious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences. I announced it pre-emptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that. ‘I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and f-ans.’
With l-ess than four weeks to go until the start of Wimbledon it must be considered dou*tful whether she would play there, or at the Olympics that follows in the country of her birth.
The enormous attention that her stance attra-cted seems to have taken her, and her advisers, by surprise. The declaration from the French Open and the three other Grand Sl*ms that she ran the r*** of being ba**d, and not just fined, also took seasoned observers aback in its swiftn-ess anduncompromising nature.
On Sunday there had been a hint of exasperation in the statement from the four Majors, which referred to the ‘lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka’ after they reached out to her. ‘The Roland-Garros teams asked her to reconsider her position and tr-ied unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand the specifics of her i*s*e and what might be done to address it on site,’ their statement read.
‘Following the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialogue on the i!su*s. She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.
‘As might be expected, repeat vi*lati-ons attract tougher sanctions including def-ault from the tournament and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more su*stan-tial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions.
‘As a sport, there is nothing more important than ensuring no player has an unf-air advantage over another, which unfor*una!ely is the case in this situation, if one player refu-ses to dedicate time to participate in media commitments while the others all honour their commitments.’
Former world number one Serena Williams backed Osaka last night as a raft of athletes and politicians threw their support behind the Japanese player. ‘I feel for Naomi. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to and the best way she thinks she can.
That’s the only thing I can say: I think she is doing the best she can,’ Williams said. Elsewhere in the sporting world, Billie Jean King who won 39 Grand Sl-am titles during her career called Osaka’s move on Monday, ‘brave.’ ‘It’s incredibly brave that Naomi Osaka has revealed her truth about her stru**le with depression. Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs. We wish her well,’ King said.
Basketball player for the Golden State War***rs Stephen Curry admired her response. ‘You shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this-but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own. major respect.’
There was a similar note of mutual respect from Cavaliers forward Kevin Love. ‘Love, respect, and positive energy your way,’ the basketball player said.
‘It’s so sad that we are in a time that when a young person tells you they need help or a bre-ak, people respond with anger and a lack of support! I stand with you … Your men*al health is just as important as your physical health,’ said Former WNBA star Lisa Leslie. Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared just three words in support: ‘Proud of you.
Former American player Mardy Fish, who struggled with an**ety i!su-es during his career, said Osaka should be fully supported. ‘Mental Health is nothing to criticize. Nothing to joke about. Please take your me*t!l health seriously,’ he said. ‘Without my support system, I truly believe I would not be here today. Here for you. Osaka also received support from NFL players too. Seattle Seahawks quarter back Russell Wilson similarly wrote: ‘We are with you… #Courage.’
‘I support you Naomi,’ wrote Tyler Lockett, a Wide receiver for the Seahawks Tyler Locket wrote ‘I support you Naomi.’ ‘As human beings we have to do better at supporting each other.
‘Mental health’ is real and to fine a person for trying to protect their peace is not giving somebody a safe place to be a persons best self.’ Former Department of Housing and Urban Secretary Julián Castro (D) tweeted Osaka could ‘sp**k needed changes’ in post-game press conferences commending her for ‘revealing as she has been about her mental health.’
‘A post-game press conference is often qualitatively different from other press events. The questions center a lot on the athlete’s psychology. Politicians or others don’t often get probed like that. So Osaka’s connection between this experience and her me*tal health rings true.’ ‘I hope it will inspire sports organizations and the sports journalism industry to show matu-rity as well—make positive changes. It’s past time.’
Not everyone supported her decision. Fox Sports commentator Rob Parker called Osaka’s move ‘downright unprofessional.’ ‘Her boy-cott of the media at the French Open is misg**ded. Worse, it’s downright unprofessional. ‘If the tennis superstar is seriously dealing with a me!tal health i*sue — as she announced on social media before the tournament — she should have bowed out gracefully from the event and taken time for herself.
Fans would have been di!appoin*ed, but understo-od. But to cl*** she can do everything else, but just can’t talk to the media is bogus,’ he wrote in an op-ed for De-adline.
‘Osaka simply has this all twisted. Talking to the media and selling the game to fans is part of her job. It’s what players sign up for before cashing all those million-dollar checks from playing professional tennis,’ Parker wrote.
‘The atta-ck on the media is so w***g and du-mb. The media is there for the fans. Most media members are just trying to do a job. It’s not about us. It’s never been. When you blow off the media, you’re telling fans they don’t matter and don’t count. Media members get paid whether they talk to the star players or not,’ he added. Serena’s support for Osaka showed how close the pair have become, despite being fierce rivals on the court.
Osaka famously beat Serena in the 2018 US Open, but she’s been looking up to her since she was a kid — and still gets nervous when she’s nearby. ‘Honestly, I’m kind of scared of her. Not s!a*ed but — I’m intimidated, and I get very shy when she’s like 10 feet away from me,’ she told Vogue in December. Osaka and Serena have faced off on the court four times with two wins and two losses between the pair.
She won at the March 2018 Miami Open and the September 2018 US Open, though Serena ‘There’s a lot of things she’s so much better at. She’s more ag!ress!ve. She knows when to go for her sh**s. Sometimes she hi** really big service returns, and I can’t do that at all,’ Osaka said.
took the win at the August 2019 Canadian Open. Serena’s skill — and Osaka’s awe of her — has made facing off ag-ainst her even h!rde!.
‘That really aff-ected me at the U.S. Open finals in 2018, but I had worked so har* for that moment, and I felt like if I were to be i!timi!ated or show that I was sc-ared of her, she would capitalize on that,’ she said, ‘When I’m stepping on the court, I have to tr-eat her as a tennis player, not as Serena Williams.’ Serena has had her own troubled with officials the French Open. In 2018, the tournament ended up banning the notorious bl-ack catsuit she wore during the competition.
The star tweeted a photo of her wearing the outfit with the caption: ‘You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her super powers.’ Serena said she had been wearing the ca!suit due for medical reasons and prevent her from getting blo-od clots.
Her behavior on the court also came in for cri**ci!m during the US Open in 2018 in which she came close to being defaulted from the final as she lost to Osaka amid an-gry confrontations with umpire Carlos Ramos.
Williams was warned for !lle-gal coaching, penalized a point for breaking her racket, and then penalized a game for verbal ab*** of the chair umpire. It left her in tears having made thr-eats to the umpire.