Naomi Osaka Reveals What Needs to Change in Media Following French Open Exit

Naomi Osaka made headlines for exiting the French Open early after being scrutinized for not taking part in press conferences. This week, the 23-year-old tennis star wrote an essay for TIME Magazine, detailing her process of prioritizing mental health. She revealed how sports media can change to make things easier for everyone.

"In my opinion (and I want to say that this is just my opinion and not that of every tennis player on tour), the press-conference format itself is out of date and in great need of a refresh," Osaka wrote. "I believe that we can make it better, more interesting and more enjoyable for each side. Less subject vs. object; more peer to peer." Osaka also noted that she loves the press but does not "love all press conferences." And when it comes to the media overall, Osaka revealed she has a great relationship with people who work in the field.

"I have always enjoyed an amazing relationship with the media and have given numerous in-depth, one-on-one interviews," Osaka stated. "Other than those super-stars who have been around much longer than I (Novak, Roger, Rafa, Serena), I'd estimate that I've given more time to the press than many other players over recent years."

Osaka noted that she told French Open officials that she would be skipping the press conferences to focus on her mental health. She understands that as a pro athlete, talking to the media is part of the job, but she "can't imagine another profession where a consistent attendance record (I have missed one press conference in my seven years on tour) would be so harshly scrutinized." And while Osaka took some heat for leaving the French Open, she showed love to the people who have stood by her.


"Michelle Obama, Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic, Meghan Markle, to name a few," Osaka revealed. "Furthermore, I am eternally grateful to all my partners. Although I am not surprised as I purposefully chose brand partners that are liberal, empathetic and progressive, I am still tremendously thankful." Osaka didn't participate in Wimbledon but will compete in the Tokyo Olympics, which starts in two weeks.