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Osaka Withdraws From French Open

Hey! My name is Claudiu Radu and for the past decade years or so, I've been working as an article writer and blogger, among other things.

What’s wrong with this sport?

I’ve promised myself I won’t write any more sport-related articles for a while, but, it seems, I cannot stop due to the way the sporting world is being hit by the greed and incompetence that normally surround other aspects of life, in present times.

To make a very long story short, Naomi Osaka ( 2nd in the WTA Singles Rankings ) announced after her win against Patricia Maria Țig that she won’t be attending the post-match press conference due to her anxiety issues.

This wasn’t a shock for me as she announced before the tournament she won’t be attending any press conferences at the tournament but, apparently, the rest of the world just assumed she would do the chore anyway, and everything exploded after she missed the press conference following her first round win.

The French Open officials have taken two measures to counteract Naomi’s press boycott by issuing a $15000 fine while also threatening her with expulsion from the tournament. The latter sanctioning measure has convinced Osaka to withdraw from the French Open.

Now, this is a very serious matter as an athlete risks being disqualified from a tournament by just skipping a press conference. I still remember Rafa’s post-match conference where he literally fell under the table because of cramps and, although most people found it hilarious, I asked myself why did he attended that conference if he was having physical issues. Now I know why.

It’s appalling that top athletes like Nadal and now Osaka, are being forced to risk their physical and, respectively, mental health just to sit in front of a billboard and speak clichés. Is this what this sport really means, these days?

Honestly, after the incident surrounding Osaka, I find it hard to take this sport seriously. I mean, yeah, well done Novak on outlasting Musetti, but make sure you don’t miss the press conference afterwards or those three hours of excitement and hard work won’t count for squat ( replace squat with the word I was actually going to write ).

What’s wrong with us?

If that wasn’t enough you should check the trail of garbage left in the social media by this incident. If the stupid threat of suspending Osaka from the competition could be put on the shoulders of a few officials who probably just panicked, the thousands of idiots speaking gibberish on social media cannot be explained.

People seem to morph into dictators or Fox News journalists while commenting on social media, for some odd reason. Nobody likes an “Uncle Tom” guys, stop defending the establishment, you just look like tools doing it.

This social media mob/herd mentality is something I’ve noticed for a while and I’ll have to research the practice more and share my findings with you guys and girls, but let’s leave that for now.

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Right now, people need to understand how Osaka was mistreated by the officials, and it baffles me that 90% of comments online didn’t seem to acknowledge the human aspect of this incident. Are people that stupid today or is it something specific to social media that turns us ( by us I mean you, of course ) into robots?

Some internet “experts” argued she cannot judge by herself if she has mental or anxiety issues so she was wrong to boycott the press conferences, but don’t you judge for yourself every time you have an injury or anxiety? That’s what prompts you to see a doctor or therapist, in the first place. Duh.

The most common argument was: “if you sign a contract you see it trough” which is plain wrong because the contract that Osaka has signed was with the sponsors and not with the French Open. She qualified to the tournament because of skill and professionalism and that has nothing to do with sponsors.

In fact, the sponsors gathered around the tournament, like vultures, because these top athletes draw crowds which means money for them.

The fact Osaka skipped a press conference should have resulted in a fine and ONLY a fine. That’s what normally happens when an athlete refuses or forgets to respect a contract or an agreement with a sponsor.

Furthermore, if you work for a company and, for a personal reason you cannot attend a meeting, you just have to tell your boss you can’t join the meeting and nine times out of ten he or she will understand ( yes, internet trolls, get a job to see how contracts actually work in the real world ).

Everybody ( except a couple of journalists across the world ) missed the point completely, in this case. It would have been alright and nobody would have protested if Naomi Osaka would have been fined for the conferences she missed and would have missed if she had continued at Roland Garros, but you cannot expel her from the tournament just because she has an issue with press conferences. It’s not rocket science people.

In the end, I only have this to say: what a sad sport tennis has become if the players' only purpose is to sit in front of some logos and speak clichés.

Who do you think will speak clichés in front of a billboard at the end of the men’s and women’s tournament? Vote or have your say in the comment section, below.


Roland Garros Women Singles

Roland Garros Men Singles

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Radu Claudiu

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