Tennis

The Breathtaking Hypocrisy On Display In Naomi Osaka Affair Is Hard To Fathom

The Breathtaking Hypocrisy On Display In Naomi Osaka Affair Is Hard To Fathom

Women's tennis isn't exactly firing on all cylinders these days. Outside of Serena Williams, who's 40 in September, there are no true stars of the game. Of those who could ascend to stardom, Naomi Osaka is the best candidate we have.

The 23-year-old Japanese player with a Haitian father, who was raised in America, has won four Grand Slam titles, including the last two played, last year's US Open and the Australian Open this year. At the 2020 US Open, she wore masks featuring the names of black people who had been killed by police and has been a staunch supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Osaka has the potential to be the face of women's tennis for the next 10 years. But the game that needs her has decided to eat her up.

In the last week, the World Number 2 made headlines after her announcement that she intended to skip her post-match media obligations at this week's French Open. It is compulsory for all players to attend post-match press conferences at Grand Slam events. She explained that the questioning at press conferences at these events had an impact on her mental health.

When Osaka won her first round match on Sunday, she made good on the promise, not showing up to the press conference. She was subsequently fined $15,000 by the tournament organisers and threatened with expulsion from the championship.

Before the game, the French Open put out a now deleted tweet. It was a barely concealed, rather despicable attack of a  player about to compete at their tournament.

Osaka Hypocrisy

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Then on Sunday, the French Open, with the backing of the other three Grand Slam organisers, released a shocking statement, showing little or no sympathy for Osaka, and a complete lack of understanding on the issue, even taking time out to praise their own work in engaging with athletes' mental health needs.

In response, Osaka pulled out of the tournament altogether last night, issuing a statement outlining her significant battles with depression in recent years.

In response to losing one of the biggest names at the French Open, Gilles Moretton, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) president, called a press conference. There he issued a statement, read in French and in English. He then left the stage, refusing to take any questions.

Irony is probably not the word. Hypocrisy might be more on the button.

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Osaka has received support from the tennis community and beyond for her stance. People like Piers Morgan has come out against her, so she's obviously doing something right.

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Meanwhile the French Open continues. We can now go back to forgetting it's on. For Osaka, taking time away from the game will hopefully do her some good. The game itself needs her though. With the Olympics in Tokyo this summer, organisers will be desperately hoping she is fit to compete. Perhaps if the game she represents took a little more care of her, this would be possible.

Meanwhile the French Open continues. We can now go back to forgetting it's on.

 

SEE ALSO: Roger Federer Says Athletes Need More Clarity On The Tokyo Olympics

osaka hypocrisy

Michael McCarthy

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