A complicated return to a press conference for Naomi Osaka. In Cincinnati on Monday August 16, the world number 2, who had decided to boycott the exercise at Roland Garros, gave her first press conference since the Paris tournament last May. Upset by questions about her relationship with the media and the situation in Haiti, the Japanese woman burst into tears, briefly leaving the room.
If the Japanese has returned to media solicitations since the Olympic Games, during which she went to the mixed zone, she had not complied with the exercise of the press conference for nearly three months. Asked on the sidelines of the Cincinnati tournament by a local journalist about how she was taking advantage of her media notoriety while refusing to speak to the press in recent weeks, Osaka twice asked for a rephrasing of the question before responding: “I do nothing about the fact that what I say or do generates press articles”.
After the press conference, Osaka agent Stuart Duguid condemned the “appalling behavior” of the journalist. “The Cincinnati Enquirer bully is the reason player-media relations are so strained right now. Everyone present at this press point will agree that his tone was all wrong and that his only purpose was to intimidate “, he told Reuters before adding: “This innuendo that Naomi owes her success off the pitch to the media is a myth – don’t be so complacent.”
– Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) August 16, 2021
Last May, the Japanese withdrew from Roland Garros after refusing to give press conferences, saying her mental health was affected by the media solicitation. The one who had revealed with suffering “long periods of depression since the 2018 US Open” had also ignored Wimbledon for his mental well-being.
In recent months, Osaka has used its notoriety to draw attention to mental health issues. An approach supported by other athletes, said the 23-year-old. “At the Olympics, other athletes told me they were really happy that I did what I did. I’m proud of it and I think it was something that needed to be done. “
When asked about her promise to donate all of her Cincinnati tournament winnings to the earthquake victims in Haiti, Osaka burst into tears, leaving the room a few minutes before returning to answer questions from Japanese journalists.