WTA responds to Naomi Osaka’s press conference boycott


The Women’s Tennis Association has responded to Naomi Osaka’s announcement that she will not be doing press at the French Open. 

In her statement, Osaka cited players’ mental health as the reason behind the decision, stating that interviews after losses are like “kicking a person while they are down.”

I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me,” she wrote.

The WTA responded on Friday morning in a statement, writing that mental health is “of the utmost importance to the WTA.”

“We have a team of professionals and a support system in place that look after our athletes’ mental and emotional health and well-being,” the organization said in a statement on Friday.

“The WTA welcomes a dialogue with Naomi (and all players) to discuss possible approaches that can help support an athlete as they manage any concerns related to mental health.”

The WTA simultaneously stressed that it also has responsibilities to the fans and public.

“Professional athletes have a responsibility to their sport and their fans to speak to the media surrounding their competition, allowing them the opportunity to share their perspective and tell their story,” it said.

The 23-year old has received some support, including from 7-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams who wrote “Girl, do you. Your life is yours to live!” However 13-time French Open champion Rafa Nadal and women’s world No. 1 Ash Barty have expressed their belief that players have a duty to address the media. 

Osaka begins play Sunday against World No. 63 Patricia Maria Tig of Romania in the first round of the French Open.