Naomi Osaka’s tennis career is ‘IN DANGER’, says three-time Wimbledon winner Boris Becker – as he says she ‘cannot handle part of the court’ after the Japanese star withdrew from the French Open after reacting to her media boycott
Boris Becker believes Naomi Osaka’s tennis career is ‘in jeopardy’ as a result of her media boycott and subsequent withdrawal from the French Open on Monday.
The world No. 2 announced last week that she would not be attending press conferences at Roland Garros due to mental health problems.
After the 23-year-old Japanese star was fined £10,800 and warned of possible exclusion from Grand Slam tournaments if she continued to boycott the press, Osaka shocked spectators by withdrawing from the tournament on Monday and revealing that she was struggling. with bouts of depression and social anxiety since her 2018 US Open victory.
Naomi Osaka has decided to withdraw from the French Open in the wake of her media boycott
Three-time Wimbledon winner Boris Becker now worries about Osaka’s future in sport
But three-time Wimbledon winner Becker is genuinely concerned about Osaka’s future in the game if she is unable to speak to the media during tournaments.
“A few days ago I heard her first reaction about this media boycott and you should always take that seriously, especially from such a young woman,” says Becker. Eurosport.
“She couldn’t handle the pressure of confronting the media after she lost a game, but that happens a lot and you have to deal with that.
“I’ve always believed that the media was part of the job. Without the media there is no prize money, no contracts, you don’t get half the pie. I hated the media and I didn’t like talking to journalists, but you had to do it.
“Now she’s completely withdrawing from the tournament because she can’t handle it and that raises much bigger questions for me.
If she can’t handle the media in Paris, she can’t handle the media at Wimbledon or the US Open. So I almost feel like her career is in jeopardy because of mental health issues.”
The number 2 in the world won her opening match at Roland Garros on Sunday from Patricia Maria Tig
Osaka won her first-round match against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday and then took part in an on-court interview, but kept her word and failed to show up for her post-match press conference.
After a strong response from the four grand slams and little solidarity from fellow players, she is now withdrawing from the second round.
In a statement on her social media, she said: “I think it is now best for the tournament, the other players and my well-being that I withdraw so that everyone can focus on tennis in Paris again.
“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never downplay mental health or use the term lightly.
“The truth is that since the US Open in 2018 I’ve had long bouts of depression and I’ve had a really hard time with that. Anyone who knows me knows I’m an introvert, and anyone who’s seen me at the tournaments will notice that I often wear headphones as it helps reduce my social anxiety.
Tournament start was overshadowed by boycott of press conferences in Osaka
Osaka said she has suffered from depression since winning the US Open in 2018 2018
“While the tennis press has always been nice to me (and I especially want to apologize to any cool journalists I may have offended), I’m not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before speaking to the global media.
“So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so I thought it was better to take care of myself and skip the press conferences. I announced it as a precaution because I feel that some of the rules are quite outdated and I wanted to emphasize that.
“I’m going to take some time off the pitch now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the tour to discuss how we can make things better for the players, press and fans.”
With less than four weeks to go until the start of Wimbledon, it must be doubtful whether she will play there, or at the Olympics that follow in her native country.
NAOMI OSAKA FULL STATEMENT