Mats Wilander urges Naomi Osaka to reconsider French Open media boycott ‘or don’t play the tournament’

French Open
Naomi Osaka pointing

Mats Wilander has implored Naomi Osaka to reverse her decision not to speak to the media at the French Open, describing it as a “bad move”.

Four-time Grand Slam winner Osaka caused a stir in the build-up to Roland Garros by announcing that she would not perform any press conference duties in Paris in order to protect her mental health.

Osaka believes that by asking players to dissect their performances after defeats is akin to “kicking a person while they’re down”.

Although most players admit they understand where she is coming from, the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic believe it is part of the job.

Rafael Nadal respects Naomi Osaka’s media boycott, but says ‘without the press we wouldn’t be that popular’

Eurosport analyst and former world No 1 Wilander, though, went even further as he feels she should either change or mind or not play at all.

“Naomi Osaka, she should have played in the ’80s. Because when I played, we never had a press conference before the tournament started,” he told Eurosport.

“But then don’t go and play the tournament. Why should she be treated any differently to the other players? That’s not fair to the other players.

“So she definitely has to do it. She has sponsors; she is the highest paid female athlete in the world. So we want to see great champions win, we want to see them celebrate, but we also want to be inspired by great athletes when things are tough.

“We are all struggling with mental issues these days during this pandemic, but Naomi, I think you need to reconsider or, I would say, don’t play the tournament until you are ready to face the job.

“In Japan, she is absolutely huge, maybe the biggest athlete that any country has ever produced. And they don’t get to hear her talk. So yeah, it’s really a bad move and I love what all the players are saying about it.”

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