‘Naomi Osaka position would cause tennis a serious problem,’ says key official
It is vital that tennis protects the press’ rights to ask Naomi Osaka and other players ‘uncomfortable questions,’ says a key official.
Gilles Moretton, the president of the French Tennis Federation, was part of the decision to fine and threaten to default Osaka due to her refusal to speak to the press at the French Open.
Osaka withdrew, maintaining that fulfilling her duties to the press were harmful to her mental health.
However, while Moretton sympathises with Osaka for her mental health struggles, he says the freedom of the tennis press must be protected – for the good of the players themselves.
“The problem Naomi Osaka raised is a real problem, a real topic for discussion,” Moretton told the New York Times.
“Perhaps we will change the rules, and then everyone only comes to press if they want to. You will see that there are not many who will come.
“Everyone will be their own journalist. [Players will] speak when they want to speak, say what they want to say, respond only to questions they want to answer. And I think it’s a serious problem.
“So yes of course to measures that will provide help and support to players, but let’s keep the freedom of the press to ask a question that might be uncomfortable and that interests the public, who are the ones who provide a living for the athletes and the personalities.”
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