Naomi Osaka news: Former world No 1 on Novak Djokovic saga and WTA stance on Peng Shuai

Australian Open
Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka had a tough Monday session with the media at the Australian Open, responding to questions about Novak Djokovic’s deportation debacle and Peng Shuai’s well-being following a sexual accusation against former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli.

An unvaccinated Djokovic was granted a medical exemption to play at the Australian Open, despite Australian protocols that all players have to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The world No 1 had his visa revoked by the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke and was deported from the country on Sunday evening. He is set to be banned from entering Australia for three years, although the Prime Minister Scott Morrison has admitted that could be changed.

The 24-year-old Osaka kick-started her Australian Open campaign with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Camila Osorio from Colombia in one hour and eight minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Australian Open news: ‘Pretty solid’ Naomi Osaka reflects on first-round win in ‘special’ Melbourne

Osaka returned to tennis at the start of this year, after taking four months away from the game last season to focus on her mental health.

She gave a non-response when asked about Djokovic.

“Is my opinion going to help anything?” she responded.

When asked for more detail, she added: “To be completely honest, it didn’t really affect me.

“I saw it affected the men’s draw a little bit so you might have to ask a men’s player.

“But, for me, my goal even before this whole situation is to focus on myself more and what I need to do to become better.

“I wasn’t really looking at the news too often.”

Osaka also praised the Women’s Tennis Association’s hardline stance with China on Peng Shuai. Earlier this year, Shuai accused China’s former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into having sex.

“For me, I haven’t heard any news. I’m not sure if that’s concerning or not,” said Osaka.

“But I think the WTA, the whole organisation, they handled it really well. I’m really proud of them.

“I feel like it’s a situation where we need more information, which is definitely really hard. Kind of I think everyone is waiting.”

Latest