There are no winners with Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the French Open

Tennis: French Open

Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

We need to work on the relationship between athletes and the media.

Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open this weekend after the No. 2 seed was fined and threatened with future exclusion from other Grand Slams after making the decision not to take part in post-match press conferences citing concerns for her mental health. Osaka’s decision spurred a stalemate between the play, and one of its brightest young adepts — with the investigation reaching a point where Osaka decided she needed to walk away from the athletic for a while.

Osaka needing to withdraw from the French Open for her own mental health is a crushing conclusion that welfares none. Osaka is taking time away from tennis as a result, the French Open is infinitely less evoking without her in it, and the boast is deciding that inflexible habit is more important than its athletes.

Naomi Osaka tried to get out of in front of the situation. Instead of waiting and springing her need of media participation while at Roland Garros, she tweeted last week that she would not participate in post-match press conferences, asking her reasoning, and being open about how it feigns her mental health issues. At the time she was prepared to be fined, but appreciated her mental health more than the money. It didn’t take long before the fines materialized, with Osaka being docked $15,000 for failing to appear after he firstly round on Sunday.

It’s well within Osaka’s privileges to not take part in media availability. It’s within the French Open’s freedoms to penalty her as a result. What happens next exited a stair further. A joint testimony problem the by the French Open, Australian Open, U.S. Open, and Wimbledon was overflowing with lingo indicating that the mental health for contestants was of “the utmost concern, ” but truly, it wasn’t. By definition “utmost” signifies “most extreme” or “greatest, ” but it was abundantly clear the biggest concern for the Grand Slams wasn’t Osaka’s well being, but the rules — because they menaced her with so far action.

“We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media indebtedness during the tournament, she “wouldve been” uncovering herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement ramifications. As might be expected, echo breaches attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament( Code of Conduct clause III T .) and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial penalizes and future Grand Slam danglings( Code of Conduct article IV A. 3. ). ”

Talking about a commitment to mental health was nothing more than lip service when you take into account the rapidity in which the Grand Slams liberated the statement. It felt as if this had been sitting in enlists for periods, ready to be affixed as soon as Osaka’s fine was announced — with little struggle actually being made to understand the athlete produce her concerns.

Shortly after the statement Osaka posted on Twitter that she was withdrawing from the tournament, feeling like she would be a distraction if she stayed in Paris and continued being under scrutiny. In it she asked her clashes with mental health issues further, which were happening at a time outsiders imagined she was on top of the world.

“The truth is that I have suffered from long contests of feeling since the US Open 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has discovered me at tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.”

Osaka went on to say that tennis media has principally been very kind to her over its first year. However, the pressure of simply turning up to press conferences makes her to suffer from anxiety, and that her decision was rehearsing self care. Osaka likewise explained that she wrote privately to the French Open, saying she was open to sitting down and discussing the question further after the tournament was over.

There’s no doubt this is a complicated issue. Yes, the media needs whizs like Osaka in order to write lines — but hotshots, and the play need the media to promote the game. Especially for tennis, a fringe boast without organic entreaty, needs scribes to cover the sport to promote awareness. There is a huge benefit to followers to have athletes face scrutiny, and difficult questions in an environment where they can’t control the message. However, there likewise needs to be greater understanding, and care towards jocks who have explained why media accessibility taxes their mental health. There’s likewise such factors now that Osaka is able to absorb media penalizes, because she’s in a position of privilege where she can eat a $15,000 penalty and move on, whereas a great deal of other professional tennis players without big affirmation treats can’t have the indulgence of hop-skip obligations and facing the consequences.

The issue of media availability is not a simple one , nor should it be treated as such. Yes, players essentially “sign up” for called into question after accords when they enter a tournament, but there are undoubtedly specific members of the media who make a living off trying to trap athletes in “gotcha” situations to be used for sound bytes, or push them into having an emotional response so they are unable later be depicted as “unhinged.” The discussion of athlete mental health from post-match interrogations needs to begin with offering credentials only to reporters actually interested in telling the stories of the tournament, and coming explanations about coincides to serve their books. Not all the persons who act merely themselves by needling competitors while then there psychological and vulnerable, hoping they’ll blow up.

An honest discussion needs to take place about who on the media side is benefitting the sport, and who is harming athletes. If we brace competitors to the expectation that they have to attend press conferences after competitors, so too should the media be held to the expectation they will routine ethically.

Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal was the best move for her, given the situation. It hurts everyone else. The French Open is less exciting as a result, fans will be deprived of watching one of the sport’s biggest hotshots play. Tennis as a whole is less compelling without Osaka, and it remains to be seen whether the remaining participates will face even more scrutiny and endeavors by specific media members to do them click, because there’s no longer Osaka to make much of the spotlight.

Tennis needs Osaka, especially as we approach a world-wide where Serena Williams is no longer vying. The sport’s next big star is critical to the future success of the boast, and grand slam organizers know it. There needs to be an open, honest and critical look at the structure of media availability moving forward. It’s the only way to keep the sport alive, and thriving.

Read more: sbnation.com