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The Osaka thing is kind of weird in that I like her a lot and I empathize with what she's going through (especially since she's always come across as quite sensitive compared to many other top athletes) but I also think that she and her team handled this really poorly? Mostly I just think it sucks that it's come to this and I hope she's able to take care of herself and come back strong.

Also, I know a lot of people have been ripping on the Slams for their response, and yeah, they might have come on too strongly too soon, and there are certainly other things worth criticizing them about, but if it's true that Naomi and her team were refusing to even talk to them, then I'm not really sure what they're supposed to do? Regardless of how many people will actually sit down and watch a press conference, tournaments rely on media coverage to attract fans, sponsors, and ultimately money. And it's not like players don't reap the rewards of this, not only in terms of higher prize money, but more exposure, which gives them a greater platform to build their own personal brands (something Naomi has done very successfully). Like, it would be one thing if Naomi wanted to work with them to find a solution or compromise for players who might not be up to the rigorous media demands that are currently in place and they refused to budge, but from the sounds of it she not only gave them no warning before posting that (pretty accusatory sounding) initial Instagram post, but then ignored any attempts to contact her to potentially work something out. If that's the case then I'm not sure I can blame them for not wanting to set a precedent where players (if they're rich and famous enough) can just blatantly flout the rules without consequence.

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17 minutes ago, AshleyN said:

Regardless of how many people will actually sit down and watch a press conference, tournaments rely on media coverage to attract fans, sponsors, and ultimately money. And it's not like players don't reap the rewards of this, not only in terms of higher prize money, but more exposure, which gives them a greater platform to build their own personal brands (something Naomi has done very successfully).

Tournaments do rely on media coverage, but realistically the media coverage they benefit from is of the actual play on the field, court, whatever. That's why advertisers want their commercials airing within the games, when people are actually watching.

And the players' exposure is based on how well they do in actual play plus whatever they do on their own social media where they're in control, not interviews.

Interviews don't really do anything to spotlight tournaments or players; they just make the media asking questions feel important. But they aren't important.

When the greatest woman tennis star of her generation is no longer competing in a major tournament because she doesn't feel mentally able to deal with the press conferences - an entirely off-court thing - then we're too far over in the direction of catering to the media. Let them all eschew the media interviews if they want. The press conferences are stupid and add no value. The French Open is vastly poorer this year for not having Naomi Osaka competing. Simple thought experiment: Which is preferable, a tennis tournament in which the players are all B- and C-level but do interviews, or a tennis tournament filled with A-level players who do not do interviews? Exactly. The value is in the on-court play. It gets said that "it's part of the job," but why is it? We can question and re-assess these things. Let's get back to focusing on on-court/field play and not on irrelevant interviews hardly anybody watches or reads because they are filled with banalities. The reporters are not the important ones here.

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I like Osaka but I certainly won't miss her at the French, and I wouldn't miss her at the remaining Slams this year either.  I really do think the best thing for her to do is to take a break, maybe for the rest of the year.  

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2 hours ago, Black Knight said:

When the greatest woman tennis star of her generation is no longer competing in a major tournament because she doesn't feel mentally able to deal with the press conferences - an entirely off-court thing - then we're too far over in the direction of catering to the media.

That's where I am as well.  I'm not saying that they should give her a pass forever but I do think there should be a mechanism that would allow players to avoid some non-court activities associated with a tournament.

I also don't agree that, because she doesn't feel mentally able to deal with the press due to anxiety related to the skills needed when doing press, that she needs to step away from what she actually trains for--tennis.  They're two different experiences with two different skill sets.

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10 hours ago, Black Knight said:

The French Open is vastly poorer this year for not having Naomi Osaka competing.

YMMV but since I had no expectations of Naomi getting far at the French Open since it's not like she's been particularly impressive on clay thus far, I can't say I buy that there is some great loss to the tournament with her not competing. Hell had she just withdrawn without the dramatic press blackout statement, I doubt the news would have made a ripple. 

Whether or not the on court/post match interviews are pointless, the bottom line for me is that Naomi did not make a good case articulating herself in her initial handling of the situation. And in fairness, I feel like she owned this in her withdrawal statement. 

Yes, by all means, make a clear and concise case for a potential change to the demands of the players and press and have a discussion about this with the officials and organizers. And if they're not willing to budge at all, by all means take them to task on that. But the initial handling of this was not the way. Also, the challenge for Naomi may be if there is any real support from other players on this issue.

Because the reality is, most of the players may not view the press interviews as a big deal. Would they say it's their favorite thing, no. Would they admit some of it is extremely annoying, sure. Like I'm sure Federer is sick of being asked about his age and possible retirement. But they still may not see it as a battle worth fighting over. And if most of the players are going to be whatever, unlikely there will be much of a change. 

Edited by truthaboutluv
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If she needs a mental break she needs a mental break. Burnout can happen to anyone, and it definitely happens to elite athletes in high pressure situations. However, I think it might have been better to simply withdraw and say that she needs time off mentally instead of citing the press conference requirement as a reason. Like it or not pressers are a part of the job, and some athletes sidestep them with "no comment" or reading a statement and then not taking questions if they don't feel like talking. 

I think of pressers like parent teacher conferences for teachers. Teachers often dread them, as talking to parents is often awkward and contentious, but it is part of the job.

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I’m torn. I’m of an age with BJK/Evert and all totally relied on the press to build the women’s game. So, I get it. I’m also one who watches post-game pressers online & paricularly in the loser of a games presser they push & push & push looking for a crack; same with a high profile player where there’s an issue they want to exploit...always looking to crack for a story. Times are changing, media availability comes in so many different forms now. Compromise seems advisable.  Coming down with all this force on someone who has sought refuge for mental health reasons seams like the absolute worst response possible here.  It has the feel of “shut your mouth and dribble” until we tell you to sing for the crowds when say so “and then, by god, you WILL sing” ugliness to it. 

Edited by pennben
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7 hours ago, pennben said:

Coming down with all this force on someone who has sought refuge for mental health reasons seams like the absolute worst response possible here.  It has the feel of “shut your mouth and dribble” until we tell you to sing for the crowds when say so “and then, by god, you WILL sing” ugliness to it. 

The worst response would have been to say fine, you can skip all of the post match stuff.  That isn't fair either unless they'd be willing to give everyone a pass, especially since this comes across as her team just throwing down the gauntlet first.  Imagine if someone who isn't particularly well liked (Djokovic, for example) had done something like that.

Plus you can get away with being a terse dick in interviews (see Bill Belichick, Gregg Poppovich, etc.).  They should give seminars about how to pull it off.

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I think we can all agree that while post match pressers kinda suck and there should be some structural changes to them, and Osaka and her team handled this in a poor and unprofessional manner.

I do hope it sparks conversation.

Also...well, sure we want all the top players in the major tournaments,  but Osaka isn't really a threat at the French. 

Of note, I love the French. I love the red clay. I love the pace of play. I love the Sunday start. I love that it brings in summer. I love the geraniums. I love it all. 

Edited by BlackberryJam
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I pretty much agree with what everyone has said about Osaka and how basically she didn't handle it well initially but if she needs a break I hope she gets one. It goes to show that no matter how perfect someone's life may seem you never really know what is going on with another person and fame and money isn't a guarantee of anything.  I hope for her mental well being she also takes a break from social media as I really feel like that's worse for anyone's mental health then sitting down and asking some inane questions especially for someone that seems to be as loved by the press as Naomi is.  On the other hand the questions are inane (I can barely watch the ones before and after the match) so I don't know what the benefit is but I know I've read the timing of them as to be as it is as the various foreign outlets have deadlines to meet.  

Sadly, it did become a bigger distraction. I was watching the Muguruza match yesterday and Mary Carillo (who I'm sorry but I can't stand) would not shut up about it.  She kept saying how her phone was blowing up and how Kenin found out walking off the court after her win, etc. etc.  Mind you Mary rarely talks about the actual match being played at the time so hopefully others will move on from this. 

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9 hours ago, I Want My MBTV said:

I was watching the Muguruza match yesterday and Mary Carillo (who I'm sorry but I can't stand) would not shut up about it.  She kept saying how her phone was blowing up and how Kenin found out walking off the court after her win, etc. etc.  Mind you Mary rarely talks about the actual match being played at the time so hopefully others will move on from this. 

I yelled at the television when Mary read Naomi’s statement, which ended with the revelation that she has suffered long bouts of depression since 2018, and her first comment afterwards was “Wimbledon is only four weeks away.  What is she going to do?”  How you can read her statement and have your first response be her tennis schedule is beyond me.
 

Mary did the impossible and made me like John McEnroe because when she asked for his response, he gave a thoughtful comment on mental health and the tennis community.

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I HIGHLY doubt Ms. Osaka will be at Wimbledon.   She apparently tried to tell the Tennis officials before the French Open what she was going through and got the party line "everyone has to do it, it's part of the job."  NO accomodation.    

BTW, she said she has suffered depression since 2018.   Hmmm, what happened in 2018 -- why this cartoon was published:   https://inews.co.uk/sport/tennis/serena-williams-cartoon-why-racist-herald-sun-caricature-196448   (they made Osaka blonde to make their racist point even stronger).   She's been suffering for a while but no one would listen.   Sometimes you have to scream to be heard.  

I hope she does the US Open and invokes the ADA.   Yeah not sure it would really work, but I'd love to see it.   

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I agree, merylinkid, and should have been more specific; Naomi’s statement actually referenced the 2018 US Open as the start of her depression:  “The truth is I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”

That cartoon is so hard to see.  Infuriating.

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1 hour ago, merylinkid said:

BTW, she said she has suffered depression since 2018.   Hmmm, what happened in 2018 -- why this cartoon was published: 

While that cartoon was certainly incredibly racist and offensive, I feel it was more so targeted at Serena. YMMV but I believe Naomi's reference to her depression starting from US Open 2018 is because that's when she truly became a globally famous, elite athlete, winning Grand Slams.

And she quickly followed up the US Open win with the Australian Open win, thereby further cementing her elite status and making her even more famous. Because as she noted in her withdrawal statement, part of the issue is that she's by nature, an introvert. And so suddenly she had this global spotlight on her. 

And that's the thing about elite sports and especially the more successful one is. Many of these athletes aren't natural stars if you will - they're not actors, singers, etc. Many of them are actually awkward in some ways, probably owing to the fact that they often don't have normal childhoods, because they were too busy training to become elite athletes.

And so not all of them can handle being superstars where they have to be doing media interviews and some expect them to be charming and articulate and engaging, etc. Not everybody is Roger Federer who practically seems like he was born to be a global elite athlete. As a long time Rafa fan, I remember how awkward as f.. he was back in his teens, early 20s. He's become more comfortable over the years because at this point, he's been at the top of the sport for so long. 

So all of this to say that I certainly can understand an introverted person being overwhelmed at suddenly being thrust into the media spotlight on a global level and all the expectations that suddenly come from that. 

 

1 hour ago, merylinkid said:

 She apparently tried to tell the Tennis officials before the French Open what she was going through and got the party line "everyone has to do it, it's part of the job."  NO accomodation.    

Where has this been stated or documented? I ask only because one of the sticking points from the Roland Garros officials is that they were essentially blindsided only days before the tournament by her statement. They had no clue where it was coming from.

And in her withdrawal statement, Naomi admits that she could have been clearer in her approach and also mentioned that she in fact has had good experiences with the press, which is why they too were baffled by this seeming blackout against them. 

The fact is this is obviously an internal issue with Naomi and not necessarily an indictment against anyone else, including the officials. She is struggling internally, which makes those media obligations that are expected of all the players, particularly challenging for her. That's fine. 

However, her initial statement did not indicate that. She made it seem like the problem was the press and and their being awful and so her not wanting to deal with them. And being that she'd never had any drama in the press room, there'd been no build up in the eyes of the press pack and the officials, they couldn't understand where her statement was coming from. Which is why my opinion from jump has been that her initial handling of the situation was poor. 

Edited by truthaboutluv
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12 hours ago, I Want My MBTV said:

Mary Carillo (who I'm sorry but I can't stand)

I don't watch much (...any...) tennis, so I am mostly familiar with her from Olympic and Westminster Dog Show coverage - I mostly like her with that, but then, she doesn't really talk much about the events there either.

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8 minutes ago, Moose135 said:

I don't watch much (...any...) tennis, so I am mostly familiar with her from Olympic and Westminster Dog Show coverage - I mostly like her with that, but then, she doesn't really talk much about the events there either.

Mary Carillo has a great bit about badminton.

Hasn't the joke about Mary been that working with McEnroe is such a nightmare that most of the time she's drunk? 

I haven't had a chance to watch anything live yet this year, but I don't want the Osaka story, and Kvitova's press conference ankle injury, to overshadow the matches and the players still in the draw. I do want it to open up a conversation about reporter's being total assholes during pressers though. 

Also, can someone take out Novak soon? Please?

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3 minutes ago, BlackberryJam said:

Mary Carillo has a great bit about badminton.

Yes! I love that one!

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I haven't seem much of the coverage but the only player I"ve seen highlighted loudly supporting Naomi is Novak.... which is probably not great for her messaging.

As an introvert whose job requires interaction with the public often in emotionally charged times, I totally get her need for space.  However, I agree with previous posters that it is all about the delivery of her message.  She is a wildly talented player who doesn't have the ability to tell the press to shove it like some of the other top players.  I 

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It's going to be interesting to see how Osaka handles the news when she does come back, because the discussions will center on her mental health--unless she comes back on fire and wins some tournaments.            

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I think it would be appropriate if each player was able to have a media consultant with them at press conferences who had the authority to say, “Someone else already asked that question, move on.” And so on, to stop some of the badgering. 

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In contrast, I just saw an interview with Coco Gauff and she was relaxed, humorous and engaging, especially for someone so young.  The anchor (don't remember his name) was comfortable asking her questions and she was comfortable answering.  They discussed her doubles loss with Venus, and Coco was comfortable talking about that as well.   So I guess it's not all bad and it's interesting to see how different people handle interviews.  

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Come on, Coco!!  I would love to see a Coco-Iga semi and then the winner versus Serena in the final.  Also, so happy for Sloane to be playing so much better.  She has such a beautiful game.  I wonder if the horror she went through with her family and Covid and being stuck in the bubble in Australia ended up inspiring her? 

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Where in the world is Roger’s match that just started? Not on Tennis Channel! After much digging, it appears that it’s on freaking Peacock Channel! WTH?! 😡 Is anyone else who refuses to pay for Peacock able to find it? 

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NBC has the rights and chose to put it on Peacock, which I get but did not pay for and am watching right now.

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Peacock is useless for tennis. I won't be watching live if the match is taking place 3am my time.  The only replay they have listed right now was from May 30th. No way to record and at a bad time to watch Live.  Why would I pay for that?  I watch motorsports on NBCSN but understand that is going away at year's end. I guess Peacock can then screw up my ability to watch Indycar and Motocross.

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So I got have from the grocery store to see that the Federer match was still going. Its so weird to see them playing in total silence. On serve in the 4th.

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Roger has withdrawn from the French Open to rest up for Wimbledon.

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41 minutes ago, Spunkygal said:

Roger has withdrawn from the French Open to rest up for Wimbledon.

I'm sure the guy he beat is spitting mad. 

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I took it as more of a "I'm not presently injured but after yesterday I'm worried continuing will do serious damage" kind of thing. Not specifically "nm, Wimbledon's more important". I mean, yes I'm sure it is to him, but I also think the fear of re-injury is real based on how he was feeling physically.

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How come we never get to hear the after match on-court interviews?! Also, I think it's bullshit that you can't play the matches they already aired on demand at tennischannel.com, unless you pay for TCPlus! Not happening! 

Med is on fire! Looking forward to his match with Stefanos. 

Delbonis' serve looks like it takes so much energy. I finally figured out who Fokina and his gestures remind me of: Jeremy Renner.

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A sad day for us fans of The Tennis Oldsters.  

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2 hours ago, TVbitch said:

Med is on fire!

I'm kind of loving how well he's playing just because so many were scoffing at his chances coming into the Open. Granted he hasn't exactly been particularly impressive on the clay so far but still, some of the snark and shade thrown his way was just vicious. 

Serena's loss didn't surprise me. She looked okay but not great in her previous matches and from jump in today's match, she seemed sluggish and not fully herself. Hell I feel like the only reason the second set was as close as it was is because her opponent kept gifting her errors. 

Looking forward to Rafa and Sinner's match tomorrow. I think this will be the true test of where Rafa's at this open. I haven't felt as at ease as I usually do watching him at the French Open, so far. It's probably the still very inconsistent serve. 

Last year, despite having no expectations based on the circumstances of that year, I knew fairly early into the tournament, after watching his first two rounds, Rafa was making the Finals again. I don't have that same confidence this year.

Don't get me wrong, I can totally see him winning again because well, it's Rafa at Roland Garros but wouldn't be as shocked as the tennis media will be if he doesn't. 

Edited by truthaboutluv
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Wow, Djokovic/Musetti match is a barn burner with some amazing points. Go Musetti!!!! You know Dj is rattled when he starts bouncing the ball 25 times!

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Um, er, uh... ugh. Well, hopefully Musetti has learned a valuable lesson about what it is going to take to win against the top players in a slam. Novak falling down, hitting the shot while sprawled prone in the court, getting up and winning the point basically sums it up. 

 

 

 

 

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So the night match that Peacock has an exclusive on is not one that many casual fans want to watch. Serves NBC right.

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No surprise that Rafa won, and good for him.  I do like the young'un Sinner and I like seeing him play.  No theatrics, no assholery, just calm and focused.  I hope he stays that way.

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Call me snotty, but I'm totally uninterested in today's matches. 

Here's the schedule.

T.ZIDANSEK v. P.BADOSA

E.RYBAKINA v. A.PAVLYUCHENKOVA

A.ZVEREV v. A.DAVIDOVICH FOKINA

S.TSITSIPAS v.  D.MEDVEDEV

It might be some good tennis, but I have zero emotional investment in those matches. 

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2 hours ago, BlackberryJam said:

Call me snotty, but I'm totally uninterested in today's matches. 

Here's the schedule.

T.ZIDANSEK v. P.BADOSA

E.RYBAKINA v. A.PAVLYUCHENKOVA

A.ZVEREV v. A.DAVIDOVICH FOKINA

S.TSITSIPAS v.  D.MEDVEDEV

It might be some good tennis, but I have zero emotional investment in those matches. 

The only one that's interesting to me is Stephanos and Daniil cause I like them both but otherwise yea.....

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They got the Coco match in at the end of the day session. She's looking very good.

I actually look forward to Tsitipas/Med.

Edited by emmawoodhouse
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