June 1, 2021 12:48:09 pm
Twitter was flooded with reactions after Japan’s Naomi Osaka announced on Monday that she was withdrawing from the French Open over her decision to boycott post-match press conferences at the ongoing Grand Slam tournament.
The four-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1-ranked player made this announcement on Twitter on June 1. She said she intends to skip media obligations during Roland Garros given the effect press interactions have on her mental health.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021
“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris”, Osaka wrote on Twitter.
On May 27, the 23-year-old had revealed on Twitter that she was fined $15,000 by the French Open and was warned about expulsion from the tournament following her decision not to speak with the press during the tournament.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 26, 2021
In the withdrawal statement, the 23-year-old also revealed that she has had bouts of depression after the 2018 US Open. “I’ll see you when I see you,” she said, before signing off.
Osaka had won her first match against Patricia Maria Tig and was scheduled to face Ana Bogdan in the second round.
As soon as the news broke, Twitter was flooded with reactions. While the majority supported the athlete in her decision, there were a few who called out her decision to be a publicity stunt.
Take a look at some of the reactions here:
Powerful statement. Tennis needs the Osaka Rule where players can compete without media hounding and wellness shaming. The old tournament rules designed before social media don’t account for its exponential impact on well being – and as a torque for racism. Heal well.❤️
— Christine Pelosi (@sfpelosi) May 31, 2021
Where do you think the prize money comes from? Why do you think that sponsors pay lots of money for this tournament? In return, media exposure is what they are getting.
— Ian (@Iantylee) May 31, 2021
Good for you Naomi💕💕
This looks bad on the organization. Clearly mental health isn’t a factor to them
— j ☆ (@CausingEuphoria) May 31, 2021
Thank you to the governing bodies and the media who criticised her and punished her. Now we are without one of the best players on Tour in a Grand Slam. Unbelievable.
— Himansh (@HimanshSingla_) May 31, 2021
Naomi is out here just simply trying to take care of her mental health. Institutions policing Black women’s bodies, space, voices, tone, salary, has to end.
— Benjamin Carlson (@bnjmn_crlsn) May 31, 2021
Thank you for having the strength and courage to demand that your boundaries be respected.
— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) May 31, 2021
It’s not the same, but when I have students who have anxiety over public speaking, I never make them talk. That would be abuse. They can be part of group work without speaking. Naomi can prepare a statement afterwards in her own time. Tennis has a duty of care to its players.
— Deborah Shaw Devoratheexplorer (@devorahshawa) May 31, 2021
Character over cash. Well done Naomi. So refreshing to watch an athlete put their principle above everything else.
— Robb Ashby (@Robbashby) May 31, 2021
Let’s boycott the French open. Naomi is the most exciting player anyway. Imagine punishing someone for having anxiety… in 2021.
— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) May 31, 2021
stay strong ❤️ I admire your vulnerability
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) May 31, 2021
I agree with the sentiment but not when you contract to do pressers which is what is happening here. She signed the contract to compete and is now breaking that contract. The right thing to do was negotiate before agreeing to take part.
— James Menhenitt (@JamesMenhenitt) May 27, 2021
Setting an example for the whole world on how to set boundaries. 👑👑👑👑
— ashley fairbanks (@ziibiing) May 26, 2021
Have you thought about journalists whose job IS to ask you guys questions?
— nozha (@4nozha) May 26, 2021
Yes, mental health is very important, and I’ve always been respectful of players, win or lose. But you are asking low-paid journalists to feel sorry for someone who reportedly earned $55 million in a year. Naomi’s been great with the press. I hope she reconsiders this approach.
— Christopher Johnson (The Globalite) (@globaliteman) May 27, 2021
Yea I’m sure it’s really tough mentally to sit there for 10 minutes and answer simple questions..all while getting paid millions to do so.
— Aye Jay (@jay_ayejay) May 27, 2021
Sending you so much love and support.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 26, 2021
Don’t do press conferences, then less media exposure which = lower prize pools. Can’t have it both ways.
— Matt M. (@realmattmorton) May 31, 2021
Tennis player Serena Williams also offered her support to Osaka. “The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like. As I said, I’ve been in those positions. We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick (skinned). Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently,” she said.
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