Naomi Osaka criticized for withdrawal of French Open

Naomi+Osaka+criticized+for+withdrawal+of+French+Open

Mei Salemi, In-depth/features editor, staff writer

One of the highest paid female athletes in all of sports, Naomi Osaka earned over $55M last season. She is currently number two in the global tennis rankings. Unfortunately, she has withdrawn from the tennis French open. Naomi Osaka declared that she would not participate in her obligated new conferences, which she agreed to under her contract rights before she quit the tournament. 

Osaka attempted to justify her actions by revealing in a tweet that “the truth is that [she has] suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018.”

Naomi Osaka described her introvertedness, stressing her habit of wearing headphones to ease anxiety before her tournaments. In the same tweet, Naomi Osaka thought “it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences. [She] announced it preemptively because [she feels] like the rules are quite outdated in parts.. [and] wanted to highlight that.” 

Tennis celebrities have been supporting Naomi Osaka and her decision. Two tennis stars, Serena and Venus Wiliams, made statements about Naomi Osaka. In her own press conference after her match, Serena Williams stated, “I feel for Naomi. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently.” She also said that Osaka is “doing the best she can.” 

Tennis legend, Billie Jean King, added, “Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs. We wish her well.”

Martina Navratilova, also considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, wrote on Twitter that she’s “so sad” about Osaka. “I truly hope she will be ok,” she added. “As athletes we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental & emotional aspect gets short shrift. This is about more than doing or not doing a press conference. Good luck Naomi – we are all pulling for you!” 

Mental health is of the utmost importance. If Naomi Osaka was truly feeling unhappy, it was a good decision to quit. That being said, she could have handled the situation better. Naomi Osaka had ample opportunity to discuss with the press about new arrangements and adjusting in regards to the press. Rather than doing this, the highest paid female athlete obstinately declared that she would not fulfill her press obligations that she agreed to and that she was getting paid so generously for. In addition, Naomi Osaka argued that the negative questions in interviews affected her mental state. She could have simply declined to answer. She could have done a lot more. 

The leaders of the US Open, French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon, all four of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments, threatened to expel the 23 year old phenom and worse punishments for shirking her commitments.