Osaka, they said, refused to engage with them, leaving them with no choice but to pursue significant penalties to ensure Osaka does not gain an advantage over its competition.
“We want to stress that rules are in place to ensure that all players are treated exactly the same, regardless of their stature, beliefs or achievements,” officials said. “As a sport, nothing is more important than making sure that no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is the case in this situation if a player refuses to commit time to participate in media engagements while others honor all of their pledges. “
Regardless of the mental health issues Osaka may be suffering from, her sister, Mari, a former professional tennis player, basically lent her support in a post on Reddit to the tennis officials’ argument. In the post, Mari Osaka said the decision not to attend the press conferences was largely driven by Naomi’s struggles to win on the clay courts. Mari Osaka said that whenever her sister plays in a clay court tournament, the press asks her about her poor surface record, which puts negative thoughts in her mind.
The French Open is played on clay, so, she explained, her sister decided not to attend the press conferences so that she could “block everything. Don’t talk to people who will put doubt in your mind.
Mari Osaka’s post seemed to raise questions about whether her sister is suffering from depression. “She protects her mind, hence why it’s called mental health. So many people are picky about this term, thinking that you have to be suffering from depression or some sort of disorder in order to use the term mental health. “
In her Monday article, Osaka described herself as an introverted person who suffers from anxiety before having to speak to the press. She said she wrote privately to tournament officials apologizing for the distraction she had created and offered to talk to them after the tournament about the possibility of changing what she described as “obsolete” rules forcing players to engage with the media.
After her match on Sunday, two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka said she did not agree with Osaka’s position. “The press, the players and the tournaments go hand in hand. We’re helping you guys, ”she said. “I think it’s very important to develop our sport, to promote our sport.” Azarenka added that she felt there were times when the media needed to be more compassionate.