Roger Federer calls for change as he shares views about pressure on likes of Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka

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Delight for Emma Raducanu as she wins US Open

Roger Federer believes there is a lot of added pressure on young players like Emma Raducanu and Naomi Osaka due to social media while he also called for “an evolution” in terms of the press’ involvement in tennis.

Raducanu and Osaka have been two of the most-talked about tennis players in 2021 as both won a Grand Slam while they also hit the headlines over the pressures involved in sport.

Osaka won the Australian Open at the beginning of the year, but then withdrew from the French Open after her decision not to do media duties caused a furore while she later opted to take a hiatus from the sport.

Raducanu, meanwhile, made the world sit up and take note at Wimbledon when she reached the fourth-round on her debut after being handed a wildcard. However, she retired midway during her match against Alja Tomljanovic and later admitted that “the whole experience has caught up with me”.

Some sections of the media suggested that Raducanu could not handle the pressure, but just over two months later she handled the pressure with aplomb as she became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam after going all the way at the US Open.

On the back of these incidents, 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer was asked in an interview with GQ Magazine if there is too much pressure on players nowadays and he replied: “Yes, I think so. I was following Emma Raducanu’s incredible run in Wimbledon and also Naomi Osaka these last few years – it’s been amazing, both of their stories. But it hurts when you see what happens and when they don’t feel well.

“The stress is so great. And I think a lot has to be down to social media: the first ten years of my life there was no social media, maybe I had just a website, then the next ten years social media was everywhere. Also, in regards to this, the press situation does need to be reconsidered. I think I’m one of the athletes who’s done the most press – ever! And I agree that it’s always the same. Always.

“I think players, the tournaments, journalists, we need to sit down together in a room and go, ‘OK, what would work for you and what works for us…’ We need a revolution. Or at least an evolution of where we are today.

“I think we do need to help, coach and mentor the younger generation more. I can’t imagine going through the beginning of my career with social media; I have no clue how I would have handled it. For every ten nice comments there’s always one negative comment and, of course, that is the one you focus on. It’s a horrible situation. Even when I am feeling down I know I need to act a certain way in front of the world’s press. We need to remember that tennis players are athletes and professionals, but we are also human too.”

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