Naomi Osaka to skip French Open press conferences, cites mental health as reason

Naomi Osaka said she will skip media events during the French Open in a bid to protect her mental health during the tournament.

Naomi Osaka file photo; Credit: Naomi Osaka Twitter page

Naomi Osaka said she will skip media events during the French Open. The four-time Grand Slam winner added she is prioritizing her mental health and will thus skip press interactions. She further added that the nature of press conferences adds to the mental strain of an athlete. Osaka also said she hopes the fines she incurs go to organisations that work to benefit the mental health of people. “I’m writing this to say I’m not going to do any press during Roland Garros,” the 23-year-old posted on Twitter.

“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one,” she said.

Osaka said she is “not going to subject myself to people that doubt me”. Furthermore, she compared the media’s questioning of athletes after a loss to “kicking a person while they’re down.”

Osaka said her decision is “nothing personal to the tournament,” but is her way of sending a message. Her belief is that certain organisations “continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece” of the sport.

Can Naomi Osaka break clay jinx?

The main draw of the clay-court French Open gets underway Sunday at Roland Garros in Paris. Osaka will know her first opponent when matchups are made on Thursday.

Osaka is the reigning champion at the U.S. Open and the Australian Open. However, her clay record leaves a lot to be desired: she has never won a title on clay.

She did not play at last year’s tournament because of a hamstring injury. What’s more, she has never made it past the third round at the tournament.

The main draw of the French Open gets underway from May 20 (Sunday) and will end on June 13.

Sportslumo Desk

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