Osaka Calls On Press To Respect BoundariesJake Cooper | 12 Jul 2021
Naomi Osaka, who is arguably one of the most talked about tennis players in the world right now, is planning her return to the tennis court after taking some time off. However, before she does so, she has called on the press to respect her privacy and to have some empathy for her and her fellow players.
She added that she never wants to have her personal medical history scrutinised again, as it was when she withdrew her participation from the last few major tennis events. This comes after the Japanese tennis pro announced that she would be avoiding news conferences for the sake of protecting her mental health.
Playing At The Olympics
Osaka has not competed in any events since the French Open in June of this year. However, she is now set to return at her home Olympics in Tokyo, Japan later this month. When she withdrew from the tennis events held over the past few months, she disclosed her symptoms and said that she did so because the felt that she was under an enormous amount of pressure because the press and the tournament organisers did not believe her when she said she was suffering from bouts of depression and anxiety.
The player said that she would not wish these feelings on anyone and that she hopes that the sports industry can enact measures to help protect athletes, particularly those who are fragile. She added that she does not feel that it was fair to have all of her personal business splashed across public platforms.
Athletes Are Humans
Osaka compared tennis players to other people, saying that in any other line of work, one can take a personal day here and there. Athletes are humans too and should be treated as such instead of being expected to complete sometimes impossible tasks. The tennis ace went on to say that one doesn’t have to share their most personal symptoms with their employer and that there is usually some kind of HR measure in place to protect at least some level of employees’ privacy.
She suggested that athletes should be afforded the right to take a mental break from the media scrutiny without being subject to strict sanctions. When the player chose not to fulfil her media commitments following the French Open, she was handed a hefty fine. Grand Slam organisers even said that she could face expulsion from the tournament.