The 2021 Tennis Thread | Vital Football

The 2021 Tennis Thread

mike_field

Vital Football Legend
#1
Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open after refusing to do news conferences
World number two Naomi Osaka says she is withdrawing from the French Open as a result of controversy over her refusal to speak to the media during the tournament.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/57310701

Been meaning to babble about this for a few days, but I can't really make my mind up.

She has a point on mental health - but it's not an issue she struggled with when you'd assume she was getting panned more regularly as she learned the true high professional level - her words 2018 - upon bring Champion = the root isn't the media issues..


A big chunk of the prize money us the media commitments - like all sports.

She's withdrawing now after expulsion was on the table anyway and her reaction to the expected fine was 'hope it goes to a mental health charity'.

Social media has gone it's usual route here in fawning but I didn't read far enough to get to the flaming (and it will be there who are instantly dismissive) - because there is an interesting issue here. Solo sport is solo in a way a team sport isn't - I know it's always been done, but is it right to have a camera thrust in your face when you're destroyed at losing - or should you been given a few hours to compose yourself.

Winning is obviously a different topic here - but does any sports fan 'really' lose out on not seeing a player crumble, cry, show some emotion, show a lack of emotion - compared to waiting a bit and maybe addressing a few questions of a higher IQ level from the press other than 'you must be gutted'.

I think a fair point given today's acknowledgment of mental health issues is being utterly buried because she went the complete wrong way on raising the subject or even thinking through there would have to be a give here.

If you lose and opt to not do an interview, there is a financial cost for not living up to that obligation - just as there would be if you won and refused. She's unfortunately come off as utterly one sided and thinking about herself, without forward thinking the wider issues.

But I still think there's a strong point in there, particularly for solo sports.
 

mike_field

Vital Football Legend
#3
But, as said, I think she raises a good point but she raised it in the worst possible way as the natural official reaction will be obligations and contracts.

I think plenty are on record as saying instant interviews didn't help them mentally (dumb repeat questions, what could you have done better not to fail etc), the likes of Macca, Connors and others - but she took this to a new level and made a proper stand but sadly on sand.

It's why I'm so torn on this one. She basically backed herself into a corner before she finished a valid sentence.
 

BodyButter

Vital Football Legend
#4
I agree with Col. Just stand there and give the same bland answers. I'm disappointed, etc.

Sponsorship and media coverage is all part of sport. If you want to play the game, you have to play nice with these people.

Look at what Connor McGregor achieved with some media savy.
 

Pangloss

Vital Football Hero
#5
But, as said, I think she raises a good point but she raised it in the worst possible way as the natural official reaction will be obligations and contracts.

I think plenty are on record as saying instant interviews didn't help them mentally (dumb repeat questions, what could you have done better not to fail etc), the likes of Macca, Connors and others - but she took this to a new level and made a proper stand but sadly on sand.

It's why I'm so torn on this one. She basically backed herself into a corner before she finished a valid sentence.
Perhaps she was more volatile precisely because of poor mental health. It seems like the authorities want to force her into situations which will adversely affect her apparent anxiety and depression issues. Fair play to her for just walking out on the tournament.
 
#6
Fining and threatening someone wasn't the way to go imho , given her mental health problems.

Surely the tennis authorities could have handled it with a bit more sensitivity.
 

danvilla2

Vital Football Legend
#7
I did see this flash up on my fone, but it was only when I read her message did it make more sense. Her message felt very genuine and heartfelt, not like a sir Alex not speaking to the media because his brother was a crook-type action.

Why not turn it around? Players get a bonus incentive for talking to the press. So rather than publicly shame those who are struggling, the vast majority earn more money from doing more things.

Equally, players with difficulties should be allowed to send in a trainer or manager to speak on their behalf in certain situations.
 

The Fear

A Wise Man (once sat next to him)
#10
Press is part of the job, always has been. If you are suffering mental health, depression (both vile) then playing in a top level tournament can't be good for that I wouldn't have thought. The way to tackle this would have been before the tournament I'd have thought.
 

Pangloss

Vital Football Hero
#11
Maybe she's ok with actually playing but the press stuff triggers all of her issues? Ultimately what drives value is on the court, the rest is residual.
 
#12
Well she has won 4 grand slams and is only 22 so must have a fair degree of mental strength , but I guess that counts for little when suffering from depression.
 

mike_field

Vital Football Legend
#13
This is the trouble, the Open haven't really got a choice in how they respond, but their language and statements have been spot on.

In terms of the timing, given it seemed so rushed - I'd definitely like to know if her or her team approached the Open first - hit a wall and that's why she exploded and went this route?

There's an easy compromise to make here if people get their heads around it, as she actually said she would continue with Court side interviews regardless - it was just the press room she wouldn't do if she lost.
 

Holte139

Vital Squad Member
#15
There's an easy compromise to make here if people get their heads around it, as she actually said she would continue with Court side interviews regardless - it was just the press room she wouldn't do if she lost.
And she stuck to her word as well Mike, after her win on Sunday she did the on-court interview but no press conference.

I saw her play at Edgbaston in 2017 when she was still a mid-ranking player working on her game but not quite bursting onto the scene yet. Remember thinking at the time that she looked a bit of a Serena-type with a huge serve and powerful game. Then saw how quirky she was in her interview and thought she came across as much more friendly and relatable than Serena ever could.

Been a fan ever since tbh, but would never have imagined that little over 12 months later she'd win her first Grand Slam! She still seemed quite raw then. Perhaps now we're seeing partly why she's the way she is.

I hope we can come up with a compromise for players dealing with mental health issues, but there is a part of me which agrees when people say that you should be prepared to be 'grilled' when you lose, it comes with the territory when you lose as a professional athlete.
 

CDX_EIRE

Vital Football Hero
#16
IMO and how I see it, I think she proved her point Mike. I won't say the general population but certainly, the media and organizations do not care about athletes. It goes without saying that not all organizations and media outlets are the same. However, UFC doesn't care about Cowboy Cerrone fighting too often for his own health. NFL doesn't explain CTE as a consequence of even a couple of seasons in the league. And while mental health isn't trauma and blunt force brain injury, it is nonetheless can cause severe brain trauma. Too much cortisol can eat away at your brain and bring on the early onset of Alzheimer's, etc.

I would have said before "why do you think they pay you so much" however if we do love these athletes as much as we say we do. And we want to see them at their best and live healthy, normal lives after they are finished maybe we should have some respect for them.

I personally don't care about post-match interviews or even pre-match interviews. There should be some obligation because of course we want to know but do we need all access? Does every journalist need access to the athlete? I don't really agree with Fear and just answer their questions with one answer etc. You just look like a **** and break down relationships. And I dont think the athletes want to be arseholes. Its not nice to be a dickhead or cause offense. Some people like it but I think its clear she doesn't. I don't think that is an answer because she won't win that way, the media will get to make her out as some villain or bitch and even worse lean into the "angry black woman" troupe.

Legacy sports broadcasting and media is another industry that will be disrupted and those who don't get on the right side will probably die off slowly. If I were her, I would start up a live Q&A on the opening day of the tournament to divert attention from the tournament. Maybe even go to a mental health clinic and donate a bunch of money and do a ceremony-type thing. I'd just find ways to ruin the tournament but thats the vengeful prick in me.

 
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mike_field

Vital Football Legend
#17
And she stuck to her word as well Mike, after her win on Sunday she did the on-court interview but no press conference.

I saw her play at Edgbaston in 2017 when she was still a mid-ranking player working on her game but not quite bursting onto the scene yet. Remember thinking at the time that she looked a bit of a Serena-type with a huge serve and powerful game. Then saw how quirky she was in her interview and thought she came across as much more friendly and relatable than Serena ever could.

Been a fan ever since tbh, but would never have imagined that little over 12 months later she'd win her first Grand Slam! She still seemed quite raw then. Perhaps now we're seeing partly why she's the way she is.

I hope we can come up with a compromise for players dealing with mental health issues, but there is a part of me which agrees when people say that you should be prepared to be 'grilled' when you lose, it comes with the territory when you lose as a professional athlete.
Most of the talk yesterday was quite sensible. Don't can the interviews just have the initial on court ones where appropriate, then let X player have 30/1hr, calm down, shower, drink, bite to eat and have some head space time - then come out for the interviews.

I see no problem with that at all, immediate interviews are usually crap anyway.
 

mike_field

Vital Football Legend
#18
I more than get what you are saying in general about 'sports' as an industry and I wouldn't disagree, but I'm not sure I'm following on proved her point, given the reactions so far?