In May, tennis star Naomi Osaka caused a stir when she refused to speak to the press at the French Open. In Cincinnati, the Japanese again appeared in front of the media for the first time and could not hold back her tears after a certain question.
The big topic at this year’s French Open was: Naomi Osaka didn’t do her homework after winning her first in Paris and refused to go to the press conference. Tournament organizers were unwilling to accept this and threatened disqualification in the event of another media boycott. Then Osaka recanted of her own free will, revealing that she had been suffering from prolonged periods of depression for several years.
It’s been a good three months since then. In Cincinnati, the 23-year-old is speaking to reporters again for the first time on an online media panel. Reporter talking to the Japanese about her hatred of the press. The four-time Grand Slam winner is trying to explain her point and says she has a bigger problem with when to hold press conferences.
Osaka looks like she wants to clean the table with the reporters once and for all. “I’ve had a lot to do with the media since I was very young. It’s probably also due to my origins and how I play. I’m basically a tennis player, so a lot of people are interested in me,” she explains. “I’m just different from many others.”
Sometimes she doesn’t seem to understand that one of her tweets or words lead to several news articles in which her words are broken down. “I know this happens because I’ve won a few Grand Slam tournaments and given a lot of press conferences. But I don’t really know how to find the balance.”
Then another journalist wants to know from Osaka why she rarely wants to talk to the media, but is taking advantage of the media world. That’s too much for the world number two, who pulls her hat over her face and wipes the tears from her eyes. Shortly thereafter she leaves the platform and disappears.
“The tyrant of the Cincinnati Inquirer epitomizes why relations between players and the media are so tense at the moment,” Osaka advisor Stuart Duguid said after the emotional press conference. His tone was completely wrong and he only wanted to intimidate Osaka. “Really appalling behavior,” Dugwid said.
Osaka will start the tournament in Cincinnati on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see how the title holder presents herself after her early exit from the Olympics. And whether she will speak to the press again after the match.