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There are no winners with Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the French Open

Tennis: French Open

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

We need to work on the relationship between athletes and the media.

Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open this weekend after the No. 2 seed was fined and threatened with future expulsion from other Grand Slams after making the decision not to take part in post-match press conferences citing concerns for her mental health issues. Osaka’s decision stimulated a standoff between the athletic, and one of its brightest young wizards — with the inquiry reaching a point where Osaka decided she needed to walk away from the athletic for a while.

Osaka needing to withdraw from the French Open for her own mental health is a crushing conclusion that assistances nobody. Osaka is taking time away from tennis as a result, the French Open is infinitely less agitating without her in it, and the sport is decides how inflexible knowledge is more important than its players.

Naomi Osaka tried to get out of in front of the situation. Instead of waiting and springing her shortcoming of media participation while at Roland Garros, she tweeted last week that she would not participate in post-match press conferences, explaining her reasoning, and being open about how it affects her mental health issues. At the time she was prepared to be fined, but quality her mental health more than the money. It didn’t make long before the punishments occurred, with Osaka being docked $15,000 for failing to appear after he firstly round on Sunday.

It’s well within Osaka’s freedoms to not were participating in media accessibility. It’s within the French Open’s liberties to penalize her as a result. What happened next extended a step further. A joint evidence published the by the French Open, Australian Open, U.S. Open, and Wimbledon was overflowing with conversation indicating that the mental health for competitors was of “the utmost concern, ” but actually, it wasn’t. By definition “utmost” wants “most extreme” or “greatest, ” but it was abundantly clear the biggest concern for the Grand Slams wasn’t Osaka’s well being, but the rules — since they are peril her with so far action.

“We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be disclosing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences. As might be expected, recur misdemeanours attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament( Code of Conduct essay III T .) and the prompt of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial penalizes and future Grand Slam exclusions( Code of Conduct article IV A. 3. ). ”

Talking about a commitment to mental health was nothing more than lip service when you take into account the rapidity in which the Grand Slams released the statement. It felt as if this had been sitting in drafts for daytimes, ready to be posted as soon as Osaka’s fine was announced — with little effort actually being made to understand the athlete elevate her concerns.

Shortly after the statement Osaka posted on Twitter that she was withdrawing from the tournament, feeling like she would be a distraction if she stayed in Paris and continued being under scrutiny. In it she explained her struggles with mental health issues further, which were happening at a time outsiders fantasized she was on top of the world.

“The truth is that I have suffered from long stints of recession since the US Open 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has visualized me at tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.”

Osaka went on to say that tennis media has chiefly been very kind to her over the years. However, the pressure of simply turning up to press conferences justifications her to suffer from anxiety, and that her decision was practicing self help. Osaka also explained that she wrote privately to the French Open, saying she was open to sitting down and discussing the issue further after the tournament was over.

There’s no doubt this is a complicated issue. Yes, the media needs superstars like Osaka in order to write towers — but aces, and the boast need the media to promote the game. Especially for tennis, a fringe boast without organic plea, needs scribes to cover the athletic to promote awareness. There is a huge benefit to fans to have athletes face scrutiny, and difficult questions in an environment where they can’t control the message. However, there likewise needs to be greater understanding, and care towards athletes who have explained why media accessibility taxes their mental health. There’s also a factor here that Osaka is able to absorb media fines, because she’s in a position of privilege where she can eat a $15,000 fine and move on, whereas a lot of other professional tennis players without vast acceptance distributes can’t have the comfort of hop-skip obligations and facing the consequences.

The issue of media accessibility is not a simple one , nor should it be treated as such. Yes, players virtually “sign up” for being questioned after matches when they enter a tournament, but there are unquestionably specific members of the media who make a living off trying to trap athletes in “gotcha” situations to be used for sound bytes, or persuade them into having an emotional response so they can later be illustrated as “unhinged.” The discussion of athlete mental health from post-match interrogations needs to begin with offering credentials only to reporters actually interested in telling the stories of the tournament, and getting rebuttals about parallels to serve their books. Not those who act merely themselves by needling competitors while then there psychological and susceptible, hoping they’ll blow up.

An honest discussion needs to take place about who on the media side is benefitting the sport, and who is harming jocks. If we prop players to the expectation that they have to attend press conferences after joins, so too should the media be held to the expectation they are able to achievement ethically.

Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal was the best move for her, in view of the situation. It hurts everyone else. The French Open is less exciting as a result, fans will be deprived of watching one of the sport’s biggest performs play. Tennis as a whole is less compelling without Osaka, and it remains to be seen whether the remaining part participates will face even more scrutiny and attempts by certain media my colleagues to manufacture them click, because there’s no longer Osaka to take much of the spotlight.

Tennis needs Osaka, especially as we approach a life where Serena Williams is no longer participating. The sport’s next big star is critical to the future success of the boast, and grand slam organizers are well aware. There needs to be an open, honest and critical look at the structure of media accessibility is progressing. It’s the only way to keep the sport alive, and thriving.

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