By: Alyssa Wilson
Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka got emotional during her first media appearance since May.
Osaka spoke at a press appearance for the Western & Southern Open, the competition she pledged to donate her earnings from to Haiti’s earthquake relief efforts.
According to Yahoo! Sports, Paul Daugherty from the Cincinnati Enquirer asked Osaka a question about her relationship with the media, saying, “You’re not crazy about dealing with us, yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform. How do you balance the two?”
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) August 16, 2021
“Ever since I was younger, I’ve had a lot of media interest on me and I think it’s because of my background as well as, you know, how I play. Because in the first place I’m a tennis player. That’s why a lot of people are interested in me,” Osaka said in response. “So, I would say in that regard I’m quite different to a lot of people and I can’t really help that there are some things that I tweet or some things that I say that kind of create a lot of news articles.”
She ended her response to Daugherty saying she’s figuring out the balance she has in her relationship with the media before she began crying. Organizers of the press conference ordered a brief break to give Osaka a moment to compose herself before answering a final question.
In May, she was fined $15,000 after refusing to speak to the media during the French Open. After receiving the fine, she withdrew from the tournament, citing anxiety as the reason she did not want to participate in press conferences. She also revealed that she has suffered from “long bouts of depression” since 2018. Following the scandal at the French Open, she withdrew from the Wimbledon Tournament to focus on her mental health.
Like Simone Biles, Naomi Osaka has been at the center of conversations about Black athletes and their mental health. The two Olympians put their health over their sport, in ways many professional athletes had not done before. When asked about Biles, Osaka said, “I sent her a message, but I also want to give her space because I know how overwhelming it can feel.”
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