Boris Becker fears Naomi Osaka’s career is ‘in danger’ after French Open withdrawal
Tennis legend Boris Becker has suggested Naomi Osaka’s future in tennis is “on the line” after she pulled out of the French Open citing mental health issues.
The world No 2 caused a storm when she announced she would not be completing her contractual obligation to speak to the media in Paris, with tournament officials fining the Japanese star and threatening to throw her out of the competition unless she changed her stance.
Osaka took that decision out of the hands of French Open organisers when she withdrew from the event on Monday evening, with Becker telling Eurosport that he fears the four-time Grand Slam champion may struggle to continue in the sport.
“I heard her first response a couple of days ago about this media boycott and that is something to be always taken seriously, especially from such a young woman,” said six-time Grand Slam champion Becker.
“She couldn’t cope with the pressures of facing the media after she loses a match, but that happens frequently and you have to deal with it.
“I always believed the media was part of the job. Without the media, there is no prize money, no contracts, you don’t get half the cake.
“I hated the media and I didn’t like talking to journalists, but you had to do it.
“Now she is pulling out of the tournament altogether because she can’t cope with it and that raises much bigger questions for me.
“If she can’t cope with the media in Paris, she can’t cope with the media in Wimbledon or the US Open. So I almost feel like her career is in danger due to mental health issues.”
Osaka’s refusal to speak to the media did not get the reaction she expected, with the lack of support from her fellow players ensuring her protest failed to make an impact.
Now it remains to be seen whether Becker’s fears over Osaka’s future in the game become a reality as she looks to plot a route back into the sport after a traumatic few days.
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