Naomi Osaka ‘knows it’s important to talk to the press’, insists her coach Wim Fissette as he comes out in defence of world No 2 after she was threatened with French Open disqualification over media blackout to ‘preserve her mental health’
- Naomi Osaka announced that she would boycott the media at the French Open
- Osaka cited the effect press conferences were having on her mental health
- The 23-year-old’s coach Wim Fissette has leapt to her defence about the subject
Naomi Osaka’s coach has tried to slow the runaway train that his player’s stance on the media has become.
Wim Fissette added some context to Osaka’s thoughts after her sister Mari admitted making the situation worse with an outpouring via social media.
There seems to be mixed messages coming from the Japanese player’s camp in the wake of the Grand Slams taking a strong line in threatening to ban her if she continues to snub press conferences.
Naomi Osaka has been defended by her coach Wim Fissette over her media blackout stance
The world No 2 could be thrown out of the French Open if she refuses to speak to the media
Fissette (left) said Osaka and other US-based athletes ‘don’t want to be threatened with punishments if they don’t feel well for a day’ and she ‘knows it’s important to talk to the press’
Osaka released a statement last week saying she would boycott the press at the French Open, citing mental health concerns as the reason behind her decision
‘In the USA, the issue of athletes wanting more freedom in their dealings with the press is very topical right now,’ Fissette – a highly experienced coach who has also worked with Jo Konta – told Der Spiegel.
‘They simply don’t want to be threatened with punishments if they don’t feel well for a day. Naomi knows that it’s important to talk to the press.
‘She doesn’t want to change things for herself alone. It’s a matter of principle for her: she wants to bring about change here, too.’
Earlier her sibling, who had a brief career as a player herself, had attempted to present her sister’s side of the story with a post on the Reddit website.
‘Naomi mentioned to me before the tournament that a family member had come up to her and remarked that she’s bad at clay,’ she said.
Osaka’s sister Mari (R) attempted to defend her sister and her decision to boycott the press
Mari backtracked on her original Reddit post following an angry reaction from users online
‘At every press conference she’s told she has a bad record on clay. When she lost in Rome she was not OK mentally.
‘Her confidence was completely shattered and I think that everyone’s remarks and opinions have gotten to her head and she herself believed that she was bad on clay.
‘She’s protecting her mind hence why it’s called mental health. So many people are picky on this term thinking you need to have depression or have some sort of disorder to be able to use the term mental health.
‘Tennis players don’t get paid to do press conferences. They only get paid when they win matches.’
Osaka agreed to do her on-court interview after beating Patricia Maria Tig in the first round but was then fined $15,000 (£10,500) for refusing to attend her post-match press conference
Mari’s original post explained the context behind Naomi’s decision to boycott the media
However, she later deleted the post, accompanied by a mea culpa.
‘OK so I f***** up. My words are coming across so horribly to a lot of people who think taking care of mental health is strategic.
‘I didn’t emphasise the fact that Naomi is dealing with a ton of shit and honestly fighting for the care of mental health in my post so now a lot of people are taking it as: “She doesn’t want to hear criticism.” I’m sorry Naomi, I probably made the situation worse.’