Naomi Osaka using French Open media boycott to bring about change: coach

Naomi Osaka is boycotting the media during the French Open to bring about some positive change, according to her coach Wim Fissette.

Naomi Osaka in a file photo. (Image: Twitter/@naomiosaka)

Naomi Osaka is boycotting the media during the French Open to bring about some positive change, according to her coach Wim Fissette. The Japanese tennis player announced ahead of the tournament that she will not be speaking to the press for the duration of the Grand Slam. She was true to her word after the first round, doing only the post-match TV interview. She did not attend the press conference thereafter and was fined 15,000 USD. Yet her coach insists it is more to do with being free to deal with the press.

“Naomi has the opportunity to use her status to address problems and to initiate things,” Fissette told Der Spiegel.

“In the United States, the subject is very topical at the moment, as athletes want more freedom in dealing with the press.

“So that they are simply not threatened right away with punishment if they don’t feel well for a day.”

Osaka has likened traditional post-match press conferences to “kicking people when they’re down”. But not everyone agrees with her.

Naomi Osaka stands firm

French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton has described her vow of silence as “a phenomenal error”. Even many of her fellow players have disagreed with her stance.

Yet following her win over Tig, Osaka stood firm by tweeting: “Anger is a lack of understanding. Change makes people uncomfortable.”

In the Spiegel interview, Fissette also insisted Osaka “knows it’s important to talk to the press”. Her coach also said she is not boycotting the media “for herself alone”.

Her actions, she says, come due to the fact that she is “concerned with fundamental issues – she wants to bring about change”.

However, it is safe to say her decision is an unpopular one. The official French Open account posted and deleted a tweet that seemed to contain a dig at Osaka.

The tweet showed Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff speaking to the media. The caption read: “They understood the assignment.”

The tweet drew criticism although many also agreed with the point being made.

Earlier this year, the Japanese superstar won the fourth Grand Slam title of her career at the Australian Open. But has never got past the third round of the French Open.




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Sportslumo Desk

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