Tennis star Naomi Osakar’s dramatic withdrawal from the French Open one after another with tournament authorities on post-match press duty highlights how a new generation of top athletes is working for the leading leagues and advocating for social change.
In announcing her decision, second-ranked Osaka, the world’s best-paid female athlete, revealed that she had fought against depression and said she was taking care of herself by avoiding asking the question, “When a person is kicked, they are kicked.” Was down “.
“The truth is I have been suffering from long-term fatigue since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a hard time coping with it,” Osaka posted on Twitter, adding that he would take a break from the game indefinitely.
“So here in Paris I was already feeling weak and anxious so I thought it would be better to take care of myself and skip the press conferences. . . I think the rules are pretty old and I wanted to highlight it. “
The episode has made a comeback around the sports world as it highlights a generational change between athletes willing to abide by the long-established rules set by sports authorities and young athletes interested in engaging in social activities and talking directly to fans on social media.
Many sports stars have rallied behind Osaka. U.S. basketball star Stephen Curry called Osakar a “major honor” when “high power is when powers don’t protect themselves.” Tennis champion Serena Williams said she hoped she could embrace Osaka because she knew what it was like to cope with the pressures of the game, when women’s tennis pioneer Billy Jan King said she was “incredibly brave”.
The French Open and other “Grand Slam” tennis tournaments force players to attend post-match press conferences, as well as to give players access to traditional media, one of the main ways to promote their program on television and in the media.
However, some players questioned the usefulness of such a presence. Osaka was fined 15 15,000 for not appearing in front of the media after winning the first round on Sunday and was threatened with severe sanctions, including potentially thrown out of the tournament.
He did not disclose his mental health problems in his initial statement on May 26, saying he would not be interviewed during the tournament. It is still unclear whether he informed them of the tournament before returning.
The four Grand Slam tournaments said in a joint statement four days later that they had “tried unsuccessfully to talk to [Osaka] To verify his well-being, to understand the specific issues of his problem and what can be done to resolve it on site “.
Shortly afterwards, the French Open posted a tweet praising players like Rafael Nadal of Spain and Coco Goff of the United States for attending the press conference: “They understood this appointment.” It was later deleted.
On Tuesday, Giles Morton, president of the French Tennis Federation, hit out at another compromise note, saying: “First of all, we are sorry and sorry for Naomi Osaka. We wish her the best and fastest recovery. . . And is very committed to the well-being of all athletes. ‘
The new era of athlete activism began in 2011 when National Football League player Colin Kepernick knelt during the US national anthem before the Games to protest police brutality, for which he was effectively expelled from the league.
The Black Lives Matter Movement and the Coronavirus Epidemic have done new urgent work to publicize the issues they consider the players of the US National Basketball Association to the English Premier League. It has made a calculation among the sports governing bodies, which rely on the star power of the top athletes to attract fans and run the business.
Osaka, 24, was born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father and grew up in Japan and the United States. In front of this shift. He took to the court at the US Open last year, where he wore masks decorated with the names of black hunters of police brutality, including Breona Taylor in America.
According to Forbes, Osaka, the world’s highest-paid female athlete who has won four Grand Slam titles, made ৩ 38 million in 2020 through corporate sponsors including All Nippon Airways and Nissan.
With the upcoming Tokyo Olympics expected to be her competition, the organizers had high hopes for Osaka to achieve the glory of the host country. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
In Japan, where Osaka has a fan following, his withdrawal from the French Open has reached the country’s highest political competition.
“We should keep a close eye on the current situation [until she recovers], Said Prime Minister Katsunobu Kato.
Sports marketing expert Tim Crowe suggested that corporate sponsors have become increasingly uncomfortable with post-match press conferences and their often hostile tunes.
“It simply came to our notice then. . . But like all of this, we are in a world where people are starting to question these rules and asking, ‘What better way to do these things?’ “Athletes are not interested in the mental health that Naomi is talking about. We’re talking about sports here, it doesn’t cure cancer, it’s not life or death.”