Tennis Grand Slam Organizers Stop Short of Apologizing to Naomi Osaka

The organizers of Grand Slam tennis tournaments released a statement Tuesday expressing concern for top player Naomi Osaka after she had withdrawn from the French Open.
Osaka had stated she would not be doing media interviews for the duration of the tournament to protect her mental health. Tournament organizers said this would not be allowed, prompting Osaka to withdraw from the tournament after she had released an intimate statement about her battle with depression.
Tuesday’s statement from Grand Slam organizers did not include an apology to Osaka or a comment about whether any policy requiring players to speak to the media would be reconsidered.
“Together as a community, we will continue to improve the player experience at our tournaments, including as it relates to media,” the statement said.
“Though the tennis press has always been kind to me … I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media,” Osaka wrote in a note explaining her decision to— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021Her decision has sparked discussion on social media, with many of her supporters, sponsors and fellow athletes commending her decision to prioritize her mental health.
“You shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this — but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own. Major respect,” NBA All-Star Stephen Curry wrote on Twitter.
“Naomi Osaka’s decision reminds us all how important it is to prioritize personal health and well-being,” Mastercard, one of Osaka’s long list of sponsors, said in a statement.
While many supporters lauded Osaka for her courage, other athletes said tournament organizers should not have let the matter escalate.
In her statement, Osaka called some of the rules on players’ obligation to the media “quite outdated in parts” and said she would be willing to work with organizers to rethink them.

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