tennis

Grand Slam leaders pledge to address Naomi Osaka's concerns

40 Comments
By HOWARD FENDRICH

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It is so very difficult to have sympathy for an excessively wealthy adult tennis player who cuts off media access by claiming that questions about her clay-court losses cause her to doubt her clay-court ability and thus become depressed, subsequently harming her mental health, yet she then offers access to media (WOWOW) who pay her for the opportunity to ask questions.

0 ( +11 / -11 )

She should never have gotten mixed up with that BLM crowd - considering she hates the stress, why did she do that? Trying to be another Colin Kaepernick? Doesn’t suit her. Go that way, she could be out of tennis.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

"...we empathize with the unique pressures tennis players may face.”

Imagine the unique pressures of a single mother needing to work at a low wage job, barely able to afford childcare, rent, utilities, car expenses, insurance with almost nothing left for food?

Or how about the pressures of the physically handicapped, unable to work, barely alive from some form of government assistance program?

Or how about the pressures faced by 2 billion poor people in the world who have to live on less than $2 per day?

Or how about the unique pressures of 230 million people sick from parasites from being without safe, drinkable water?

Or how about pressures and stress of 357 million children living in war zones in the world?

Maybe Osaka and the tennis kings and queens are not in as much unique pressure as they like to think they are?

6 ( +16 / -10 )

Ganbare Naomi chan

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

Good for Naomi Osaka, then. Work on your recovery, first.

Hail, Khaleesi, ‘breaker of chains’!” - They willbend the knee’ and the all the press BS will end.

Now,... “back to ‘Sports’ ”.
-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Very interesting to read comments that are so very dismissive of mental health, merely because someone's a professional athlete.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

The pledge came in a statement signed by the same four tennis administrators who threatened the possibility of disqualification or suspension for Osaka on Sunday if she continued to skip news conferences.

Backpedalling self-servers.

Most of the top seeded, male and female, have recently expressed concern about too many tournaments and undue pressure on players. Osaka did something about it and deserves applause not criticism.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

So far today, ‘no one’ has ‘dismissed mental health issues’ @half-heartedjumper 8:39am. In fact, it looks like everyone here acknowledges it: by encouraging Naomi Osaka, by giving other examples, by questioning possible hypocrisy of some actions, and by also citing and contrasting other, ‘more immediate and life threatening issues’ to people than just the portrayed mental stresses of competitive sports.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Agreed @BobFosse 8:57am:

“Backpedalling self-servers.” - “ The pledge came signed by the same 4 administrators who threatened disqualification/suspension for Osaka on Sun if she contd to skip news conferences.” -

Osaka did something about it and deserves applause not criticism.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

victimhood status: confirmed.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Physical health and injury are well understood and respected. If Naomi had been limping there would likely have been no problem -- even with her decision to skip the press interview. But because no one could see her mental injury she was not/is not believed ... much less excused. Time for re-booting the way athletes are treated by the professional associations/leagues. Our gladiators are human beings.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

So far today, ‘no one’ has ‘dismissed mental health issues

Exactly. If she does have mental health issues, then she should take a break, and if the problems don't go away, she seriously has to think whether top-level tennis is a career path she wants to continue with. People have sympathy with others suffering from depression, but have little time for people who do nothing about it, especially when a lot of money is still flowing in. Personally I'm more concerned for people who are suffering from mental health issues related to the pandemic and all the job losses. Nobody is forcing her to play tennis.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Tennis players should not be required to attend news conferences.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

victimhood status: confirmed

to be you, highlighted and underlined.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Was there any other result allowed other than for her to become victimized in all of this?

not like gender or race politics will simply allow her to have to fall under the same rules and expectations as everyone else.

or to be held accountable for her own actions and decisions. That can’t happen in this “woke” environment.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

held accountable for her own actions and decisions.

Yes, she needs to be held accountable for denying the entitled people the right, nay, the obligation, to perform for them regardless of her mental health.

The idea that she would consider her anything more than a possession, who is owned by and belongs to the fans regardless of the cost to her mental health, is frankly appalling, and anyone who thinks she has a right to take care of herself should be cursed with the mental health issues she may or may not have but it doesn't matter as she's a possession.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

If she does have mental health issues, then she should take a break [...] People have sympathy with others suffering from depression, but have little time for people who do nothing about it,

...She skipped an interview, paid the fine, and then quit the entire tournament when people didn't like it. This article is literally the response to her "taking a break" and "doing something about it".

You still don't seem satisfied, though, so forgive me if your comment seems a little disingenuous.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

nope, she could have simply not joined at all.

Not joining and then expecting and demanding special treatment. then it turning into a racial and gender issue when she didnt get her way.

Simply dont play if your "mental health" wont allow it.

nay, the obligation, to perform for them regardless of her mental health.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

nope, she could have simply not joined at all.

That's right. Someone with mental health issues is in a clear enough headspace to know what the entitled people demand they should have known before they knew.

Because that makes sense.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

RowanM

Well spotted.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@blacklabel She did not "demand special treatment". There are rules and clear penalties for breaking them. Don't do the interview? Pay a fine!

Naomi decided that she was ok with that rule and that the fines were acceptable to avoid the interviews.

It was the GRAND SLAMS that were trying to change the rules when she didn't care about the fine (which is why fines are horrible-- they're only a punishment for the poor) and it was them saying "well actually we may disqualify and suspend you, too" that made her quit the tournament.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The take of fear...

Not joining and then expecting and demanding special treatment. then it turning into a racial and gender issue when she didnt get her way. 

Why the fear? Don't be afraid. It makes your words weak. And then it makes you sound confused. Salty, but not like a Caesar more like a pretzel. Soon as you get a chance it's like hey- everybody let's do the twist!!

Always twisting whatever scares you into a chance to bring up race again. Again and again.

No surprises ever. Always the race thing. Like you can't get off the dance floor and just leave the club even after the musics stopped and there's no more whisky in the cup. No more ice. You go back for more pretzels. Salty. Now you're twisted around gender and turn that into BLM and twist it back to LGBT, all I hear is pain. I cant say whining customers moderators. But you now if it quacks and waddles...

Salty pretzels.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

She's a human being. She has black blood. She has Japanese blood. Yet, from what she has done and said in the past, I find little evidence of reason to support why does things she does and say things she says.

They do not come from critical thought. Things she does have made little sense, and I believe she needs to have more reasoning in her actions. It seems like a middle school child trying to do the cool or righteous thing, without true consideration of commitment.

I have no idea if her depression is real or not. No one does. She can say it is so, but it could be she has avoidance problems and is just immature. She seems rather juvenile.

She has little credible behavior, so when something happens with her, it's just, 'here we go again'. Not even the worst of tempestuous tennis players cause as much silly news as she does.

I'm a staunch supporter of BLM. I believe Lewis Hamilton and words he says. I don't believe Naomi Osaka's. She seems disingenuous and rather ignorant, which causes questions on her behavior, whatever it may be.

If she believes she has her mental health issues, she shouldn't have gone to the French open to expose it. She should have communication with her management or someone who can advise her to get help and not go to the tournament at all, and take a break from tennis, period.

A mature person would have the foresight to do this, but she chooses being the world center of attention when she says she hate that part of it. I'd say it's hypocritical, but really, it's just dumb. Get a little smarter, Naomi, you are in a world of huge money and in the eye of the world.

The way she does things makes her look like she's a wannabe martyr, and if it was my child, I'd hope she could talk to me and I'd advise her to take care of things away from the public eye. And knowing she is painfully shy, to not bite off more than she can handle. One should be pragmatic if one is to be a political voice or otherwise, knowing or should know fame causes attention and scrutiny.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

She's a human being. 

After that you shoulda cashed out.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

How about “She’s a human being.

*- @sunfunbun 2:46pm “She's a human being. She has black blood. She has Japanese blood”*

.... and leave it, at that?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sunfunbun agree with most of that. Why seek the spotlight then desperately try to avoid it? She does seem to be rather immature which is not altogether unusual for someone her age. I really wonder who is advising her because it seems to me they are not doing a very good job. This could be a classic case of too much success too soon.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No different than it I get a fine for illegally parking my car in the middle of the street.

the police aren’t going to let me just decide to do that everyday because I can afford the fine and am ok to pay it.

fines exist to discourage undesirable behavior- leading to it not happening next time. Not to allow privileged people to do whatever they want.

Naomi decided that she was ok with that rule and that the fines were acceptable to avoid the interviews.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

the police aren’t going to let me just decide to do that everyday because I can afford the fine and am ok to pay it.

Ummmm

https://www.cnbc.com/2015/04/15/wealthier-drivers-get-more-tickets-but-dont-pay.html

https://dailytargum.com/article/2020/02/jeff-bezos-parking-ticket-fines-displays-wealth-inequality

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/when-was-parking-illegally-option-be-enjoyed-rich-people-9909030.html

Eight second google. You aren't big on the ol' fact-check, are you.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Stickman1760

Perhaps she just enjoys playing tennis but hates speaking in public.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

RowanM:

You still don't seem satisfied, though, so forgive me if your comment seems a little disingenuous.

Yes, duh, I know she's taking a 'break', but what next? Is she going to come back and just repeat the cycle? She knew the consequences of skipping a news conference, and yet she went ahead. Why didn't she pull out of the tournament in the first place? It seems to me you enjoy listening to millionaires' problems. There are plenty of other players who would take her place and give interviews. If Osaka is too immature or introverted or nervous, it's not other people's fault. She has other options with all that money she's earned. And she should get professional help. Whining in public is not the solution.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Martina Navratilova:

"I am so sad about Naomi Osaka. I truly hope she will be ok. 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!"

Billie Jean King:

"It’s incredibly brave that Naomi Osaka has revealed her truth about her struggle with depression. Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs. We wish her well."

Chris Evert:

"These days, stars have social media so 'nothing is eyeball to eyeball'. They [the stars, the media and the tournaments] need to get together in a room and hash it out in an understanding and empathetic way."

"Take care of yourself - so much has happened to this young woman in a few short years. She is the highest paid athlete in the world... just take time away. Figure it out."

"She needs to communicate with the Grand Slams, come up with a healthy solution that's going to make everyone happy."   

It seems now the Grand Slam tournament organizers have turned around and taking Evert's advice with the players about figuring out how to take into consideration the mental health of players.

She knew the consequences of skipping a news conference, and yet she went ahead. Why didn't she pull out of the tournament in the first place?

She was willing to pay the fines, as per the rules. The tournament organizers later tried to change the rules by threatening to keep her out of future Grand Slams.

There are plenty of other players who would take her place and give interviews.

But not many has her talent and skills, which organizers covet for the prestige of their tournaments. Kinda like imagine if one of the Top Four isn't in the Grand Slams, the Grand Slam organizers would want him in it.

And she should get professional help.

She definitely should. And if a medical doctor diagnoses her as having a legitimate phobia medical condition - what are tournament organizers going to do about it? They can't force someone with a medical condition that goes against doctors' orders.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I know she's taking a 'break', but what next? Is she going to come back and just repeat the cycle?

If I was her, I wouldn't. She's rich. She beat arguably one of the best tennis players of all time. It's messing with her head. Gotta know when to walk away, know when to run.

She leaves now, she's a respected winner, and she can hold her head high, AND keep her mental sanity. That's more important than any money, and definitely more important than any entitled whiners on the internet who will never achieve anything in the same realm of reality of success as this young woman has.

Walk away Naomi. Enjoy life. Screw these people, they're nothing.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

There are plenty of other players who would take her place and give interviews.

But there will always be a question mark. Would she have won? And if not, then what would her rank have been, because there's a question mark over everyone else's head too. Kind of like this upcoming Olympics - it's just not the same if one of the elite players isn't participating.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

These interviews are really terrible to watch... what do you expect the Victor to say, and likewise the Vanquished ?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's time tennis players formed their own union to protect the interests and well being of the athletes.

Playing tennis at a world class level is difficult enough without being subjected to prying , idiotic questions time and again by second rate hacks.

It is supposed to be about tennis, not about feeding the media circus.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Honestly yes, the ATP needs to address Osaka's concerns, not just for her but for all the players wellbeing. That said, I really hold Naomi's coaching team, managers and sponsors responsible. At 23, I can't imagine what else she could have done on her own, so why did come to that? Her team, not her, should have engaged the Roland Garros officials; letters should have written, interviews should have been had, appointments made, And Naomi should have had the counseling she needed. They gave her that money but didn't have the sense or the guts to take care of the person who gave them their position, it's tragic. Her team needs to be fired, and her biggest sponsor and the league needs to step in with a quality team to address these issues, for so many reasons. I really wish Naomi Osaka the best. Because for her generation, she is.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Shouldn't she see a doctor rather than announce to reporters how she cannot handle reporters?

What gave you the silly idea that these are mutually exclusive?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

These sport interviews are so boring, fruitless and time wasting. Most people I know rarely watch them. It just gives the media something to do which they do rather badly with those insipid, boring boring questions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

snowymountainhell

So far today, ‘no one’ has ‘dismissed mental health issues’ @half-heartedjumper 8:39am. In fact, it looks like everyone here acknowledges it: by encouraging Naomi Osaka, by giving other examples, by questioning possible hypocrisy of some actions,

Well, that's not true. The first two comments pretty much fall into that category. Suggesting there's hypocrisy is indeed to be dismissive of her "claims".

and by also citing and contrasting other, ‘more immediate and life threatening issues’ to people than just the portrayed mental stresses of competitive sports.

Both things can be true.

People can be stressed by "more immediate and life threatening issues", and someone else can be "stressed by the rigors of playing competitive sport." It's not an either/or situation. For someone to point to that, is indeed being dismissive of Naomi Osaka.

Osaka did something about it and deserves applause not criticism.

For the most part, I think we're on the same side in this.

I agree with you completely (and other comments you've made). I just think maybe you're being a lil' too generous in seeing the good intent in some of the other comments. ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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