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Liz Cambage defends Naomi Osaka: ‘being forced to do media shouldn’t be part of being an athlete’


Tennis star Naomi Osaka’s decision to withdraw from the French Open has sparked a debate on the role of media in sports.

Osaka originally stated before the Grand Slam that she would not participate in post-match press conferences, citing her mental health. Then, after winning her first-round match, Osaka was fined $15,000 by the tournament for missing her media availability. After tensions escalated between herself and tournament organizers, Osaka decided to withdraw from the French Open, disclosing her ongoing struggle with depression.

The tennis icon’s decision has reverberated throughout the sports world, instigating a discussion on athletes’ obligation to the press.

Liz Cambage of the Las Vegas Aces responded to Osaka’s statement via Twitter, encouraging people to start protecting athletes that don’t wish to speak with the media.

Los Angeles Sparks player and ESPN radio host Chiney Ogwumike offered a slightly different perspective, stating that media accessibility is important but not at the cost of an athlete’s mental health.

Two players still taking part in the French Open, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams, had differing views when asked about Osaka in their post-match interviews.

“I think it’s (press) very important in developing our sport, in promoting our sport,” said Azarenka. Williams stayed focused on Osaka, saying, “I wish I could give her a hug, because I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions.”