Hamilton, Osaka and a tough question about sporting press conferences


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Naomi Osaka’s shock withdrawal from the Roland Garros tennis tournament yesterday sent shockwaves far beyond her sport, reaching even those like myself who are not entirely sure by which end to hold a racquet. Or is it a bat?

Prior to the tournament, Osaka announced she was “not going to do any press during Roland Garros” and stated that if the organisers chose to fine her then “I just [got to] laugh”.

“We’re often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me,” she said.

But it soon became clear the championship’s organisers were prepared to raise the stakes considerably higher than a mere fine, and stated Osaka would not be allowed to participate if she refused her media obligations. Incredibly, Osaka chose to quit the tournament.

“Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I [want to] apologise especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media,” Osaka explained in a subsequent statement.

The remarkable fact that a professional sportsperson chose to abandon a competition rather than speak to the media presents questions which obviously extend far beyond one sporting discipline.

There are some notable parallels to Formula 1, especially Lewis Hamilton’s skirmishes with the media a few years ago. At the Japanese Grand Prix weekend in 2016, trailling team mate Nico Rosberg by 23 points in a championship fight he eventually lost, and having just been beaten to pole position by a hundredth of a second, Hamilton sent journalists packing from a post-qualifying press conference at Suzuka.

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“You’re not going to be smiling in a minute” he began before telling them he would not take any further questions due to the “disrespectful” coverage he had received from some. “There are many of you here who are super-supportive of me and they hopefully know I know who they are,” he continued. “Unfortunately the decision I will take unfortunately affects those who have been super-supportive, so that is why I am saying it with the utmost respect.”

Hamilton’s relationship with the media was not great in 2016
This was the culmination of a series of escalating tiffs between Hamilton and the press. Previously during a Mercedes press conference he took to social media to complain about being asked the same questions repeatedly.

There are obviously similarities between the experiences of Osaka and Hamilton, notably the decision by each to collectively punish the entire media contingent due to objections about certain members. They may even have swapped notes on their experiences – Hamilton publicly praised Osaka last year for promoting anti-racism messages.

The key difference in the Osaka affair is her insistence that participating in press conferences has had a damaging effect on her mental health. “People have no regard for [athletes’] mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one,” she said in her original statement.

That prompted insinuations from some that Osaka had invented mental health problems to excuse herself from speaking to the world’s media, which she firmly rejected. “I would never trivialise mental health or use the term lightly,” she said yesterday. “I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”

Knowing as little about tennis as I do, I see no reason to doubt her. In Formula 1, Lando Norris has spoken openly about the menatal health difficulties he has encountered.

But there is a fuzzy line here, one captured by the words scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin put in the mouth of fictional White House press secretary CJ Cregg speaking to journalists in The West Wing: “The president finds you all annoying, but not prohibitively debilitating.” Where does a question, or series of questions, go beyond being merely irritating and start becoming damaging to the competitor?

No doubt most athletes, if not all, find questions about negative performances an unwelcome distraction. They may well prefer to do away with them whenever possible. Professional sportspeople spare no opportunity for advantage, so it would therefore be naive to believe no one would ever feign mental health problems to excuse themselves from media duties.

But in any sport fans, and therefore journalists, want to know how races and matches were lost as well as won. Competitors will face questions accordingly.

Take away the explanations for defeat and everyone seeking to know the sport grasps it a little less well. What is needed is understanding on both sides of how this can be achieved without jeopardising the mental health of competitors, whether they drive a car or hold a bat. Or racquet.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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113 comments on “Hamilton, Osaka and a tough question about sporting press conferences”

  1. A suggestion for the tennis tour: what if players had the possibility of skipping a certain number of press conferences per year, like 20 or 30 (not sure how many they go through – probably a lot for someone like Osaka, Nadal, and the other top players), without being fined?

    1. I think that post match, post race press conferences should be expected. Anything up until then is not necessary and generally leads to weird, rushed speculative headlines.
      Make the post-game/match/race press conference necessary, and the others can be a discussion between the athlete, team and sponsors.
      I am sure this makes journalists jobs more difficult, but I see so many bad headlines in the world of F1 (Not so much from RaceFans) that you wonder if they spend more time coming up with articles, than trying to give their readers something of substance?

      It would be really interesting to see an opinion piece by Dieter or Keith as to their side of it?
      How does it affect their job if there were fewer press obligations for the drivers?

      In the end I would rather see 20 drivers performing at their best on track, and if that means less press conferences, and less news, then so be it.
      I would also rather see more articles on the racing and competition than seeing the drivers being put up against each other off track, where as interesting as it is, it really doesn’t matter.

      From the outside I do think the current covid restricted press conferences have been managed really well and more concise and to the point than the press conferences in past years.

    2. I really don’t see the point though @macague. Surely many of the ones where a defeated champion does NOT want to be, are the few PConferences that anyone actually gets surprising answers at all.

      When we all agree that most staged press conferences are both a bore and a strain on athletes and media often complain that since they are nowadays mostly live (streamed) any answers you get are out there for everyone to use, so not of much use to print media at all, shouldn’t we look at how to reform the process of interaction?

      I don’t know exactly how to make it work – giving access to ALL media – not just an athlete/team pushing what they want to say, but also safeguarding that all access is not granted to “inside players” or “exclusive partners (as we saw quite a bit of in recent years with some websites/publication, and the exclusive room given to Sky in F1) and giving fans real insights. While at the same time achieving a decent balance between where talking to media in their role as making sure that important, interesting or just simple fact are followed and nobody can get away with undue behaviour.

    3. Athletes don’t get paid (the amount they get paid) solely for their sporting achievements.
      Monies paid to them are so (exorbitantly) high because of the whole media circus and commercial monetisation around it.
      If an athlete wants to get paid those amounts they should do all the parts of their job: be an athlete, and join the media circus.
      If they only want to do the sport, then there are many junior competitions without pressers.

      PS I take mental issues very seriously. And in Osaka’s case I would engage with her on how to do the media stuff without causing her unnecessary stress. Maybe have a person she trusts do those meetings with her and be her spokesperson.

      1. To be fair to Osaka, she’s not going to get any money from the Open for bowing out—so from that perspective that’s all fair.

    4. If the company that is paying the employee millions of dollars to work for them wants the employee to do press conferences then they need to do them. What we saw with Osaka was a spoiled little child having a tantrum on the world scene. I wish I could just not do my job some day because it has effects on my mental health. She has nothing to worry about in the world. Try going to work when you have cancer or are going through a divorce. I’m glad the they fired her from this event. Grow up.

      1. @darryn
        It’s incredibly ignorant to assume that just because someone is rich and successful that they have “nothing to worry about in the world”. Believe it or not athletes are still real people with their own issues too, internal and otherwise. They also didn’t fire her from the event, she chose to withdraw – as stated in the first line of the article above. You should probably read some of the details before making incendiary comments like this one.

        1. They were going to default her if she didn’t. Like when a politician resigns to spend more time with his family. It’s also incredibly ignorant to assume these people have the same problems the regular joe has. Just quit if she doesn’t like it and live out on the millions she’s made already. I think the child abuse of making a kid practice tennis or violin or whatever from 4 years old is what this is about. Not the press being too hard on this delicate little flower.

          1. @darryn

            Like when a politician resigns to spend more time with his family

            I have a bridge for sale interested?

          2. Also care to say why the mental health of a young lady offends you so much you delicate little flower?

          3. @Darryn Smith Also take note of what you said yourself.
            “I think the child abuse of making a kid practice tennis or violin or whatever from 4 years old is what this is about. Not the press being too hard on this delicate little flower.”
            Now think about what you are saying here. And who you are blaming? Or do you think her training from 4 years old included press conference training, public speaking and mental health management?

            Osaka didnt choose to have her life dedicated to Tennis since a young age, she wasnt old enough to recognize the risks of what it might result in when that decision was made. Yes she obviously loves tennis, but when you are brought up in that way, are you surprised when these athletes end up with some for of mental health issues? Or should we expect HER to give up on her achievements because some media cant do their job professionally?
            You obviously understand that these athletes are put through a different childhood than most of us are…. or am i wrong?
            What I dont understand is your blame on Osaka and calling her a “delicate little flower” when something you call child abuse results in some mental health issues?
            You are literally defining what she went through as child abuse and then blame her for it??
            You gotta make up your mind dude.
            Your clear understanding of what a child athlete could face along with your willful ignorance for consequences is really annoying.

      2. @darryn How much she gets paid I think is a moot point, everything is relative, I assume you are paid more than a lot of people on this earth and many would consider you lucky. There is no sliding scale of work balance relative to pay. If you can make someones life better, you should, it’s a simple as that. To describe her as a ‘delicate little flower’ is to do her an injustice. The pressure of her work environment is incredible. Mental health is very much a real concern for everybody, and she’s exposed to the some of worse elements of humanity. If she says she can’t do it (face the press), then I think that’s fine, she has the means to communicate with the outside world via social media if she wishes (and she does), in that space she can do it on her own terms, and if that’s better for her, then that can only be a good thing.

        She shouldn’t have to justify her reasons, or deny that she was ‘trivialising mental health’, if someone says that can’t do it, then that’s fine, I’m sure the media wouldn’t want to force someone to do something anyway.

        Going to work when going through a divorce or cancer is not a ‘step up’ from anxiety or depression. Depression kills just as cancer does. You wouldn’t wish any of them on anyone, and if all we’ve lost is a few soundbites from a press conference, then I think we can all accept that loss if it’s for her own well being.

      3. So Darryn, maybe you should have waited a bit before you ignorantly comment. Her sponsors, who pay her millions support her. The only people against her is the event, the ones who plan on making millions from her, not the people paying her.

        Fans are so entitled. They forget who pays the athletes and think that they deserve to have insight into an athletes life. I do agree the sponsors come into it, but like you can see here, the sponsors and her bosses are very supportive of her, rightfully so, and Roland Garros is the issue, and don’t deserve to have an athletes of her Calibre at the event if they cannot appreciate her as a human being.

      4. They didn’t fire her from the event, they don’t pay her to participate. Her sponsors pay her, and they have given her full support on this matter.

        So might be you that needs to grow up darryn

      5. @darryn Actually yes, when I’m struggling with mental health, I do take a day off work as sick leave. I don’t often need it, but it’s there and I have used it.

        My boss understands and appreciates our honesty when we communicate that we need to take “a mental health day”. Especially when they know we’re not wasting everyone’s time with utterly unproductive days.

        Maybe you need a new workplace.

  2. Best way to stop questions: Just give them a simple answer and stop there, or even one sentence, and if they ask the same question, give them the same response.

    1. Kimi !!!

      1. “I got sprayed with all kinds of crap!”

    2. Pretty much. I think it is the most polite way in responding if you wish to stop them rather than saying: I have already answered that or something similar…

    3. The phrase “I refer the right honourable gentleman to the answer I gave some moments ago” springs to mind.

    4. @krichelle Sadly, there is no approach to stopping questions that 100% works. Or even 30% works, if the journalists are sufficiently desperate for a quote.

    5. Well, but then you get the situation where the answer is so unsatisfactory, that other journalists push for an answer to that same question and we get complaints that everybody asks about the same thing @krichelle!

      It’s not as if all sporters/athletes only refuse to answer BS questions, they often also do not want to answer just unwelcome questions about their motivation, or say about taxes, about bad behaviour, about insensitive comments they make, where the world should get a decent answer, even if the sporter/team/athlete is not willing to answer the question.

    6. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      1st June 2021, 20:52

      Do a Marshawn Lynch:
      “I’m only here so I don’t get fined”
      “I’m only here so I don’t get fined”

    7. After a while even that will break you. It’s literally like fifty of the same questions in a given day.

      I believe she did the right thing. After a while Journo’s will learn to avoid the BS questions.

  3. You are not playing tennis in your back yard or driving on your local mart track. You are participating (and paid for it) in a sport that makes its money by being entertainment for millions of people.

    If you cannot handle the press or duties that entails you can choose not to participate.

    1. Because they participate in a sport that they make money from does not give the media the right to treat people however they want.

      1. I think you are both right. First of all todays press is on average not professional enough, both in not really asking the right questions analysis wise and by being unmannered & rude. They should take note to this story. Secondly, nobody forces you to participate in Roland Garros. You can play tennis in your backyard. When playing some duties needs to be performed or there won’t be any price money. Simple. Go play other tournaments without press (and without big money to win). In every sport there are athletes that don’t make the cut for various reasons. You are simply not good enough or rather not all-round enough

    2. @Peyron
      Ah! The classic ‘shut up and swing’?
      You are getting paid millions so your wellbeing is not as important. The almighty money and fame.

      1. I think that misses the point @lums. No one is forcing her to be a professional athlete, and being one and playing in grand slams mean signing a contract saying you have media obligations. She could become an engineer, or a vet or a data entry clerk.

        For reference I have written about my own struggles below. There are many others out there that deal with much much worse but have to try their best to do it just to survive, let alone reap the benefits of a professional tennis career that will mean she will never have to work again. I am torn with this, the press can be absolutely vile as we all know, but at the same time life can be tough at times.

        I don’t want to sound unsympathetic, but at the same time you can’t expect not to have to answer questions as a professional sportsperson, they earn the money they do precisely because of being on TV and in the media.

    3. Should we play ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Pink Floyd in the background?

  4. I can understand where she’s coming from and also the media/press’ need for info.
    For me, the main issue is that some sections of the media/press take things being said out of context, and tweak/twist them to suit their purpose. They prefer buzz words, quotes which most often are used out of context. Sometimes some sections of the media/press appear to want to ‘trip’ the interviewee, get them to say things they normally wouldn’t say and use those to vilify them…and for athletes that are going through all sorts of emotions after a loss, it’s really tough and unfair on them. And for people like me, it can be very distressing watching/listening to them explain themselves over and over because the journalists ask the same question over and over and over! Or repeating a negative experience for the athlete over and over; it can be very distressing for me watching and I can only sympathise and empathise with the athletes going through such experiences in front of the world!

    1. @DonSalsa

      That’s largely fair, but Osaka’s actions don’t match up with your complaints very well. If the issue is that some journalists are being abusive, then it seems to me that the proper way to deal with it is to go after those journalists. For example, there already tends to be a system of accreditation, so journalists can be banned from pressers.

      It seems to me that Osaka really didn’t think her actions through very well, nor had someone near her tell her that this was unwise.

      1. There’s also an issue of culture.

        The dog eat dog world of the international press favours the mind set which we see as typically American or European.
        I have to wonder what its like for someone from Japan or Asia. their culture and upbringing must be so much more at odds with this western phenomena.

        This isn’t to say they wont have their version of the press, but i’d bet typical japanese press confrence is nothing like
        you find in the west, i would also guess the types of questions asked aren’t as personal or intrusive as we expect here in the west. Respectful comes to mind.

  5. Im sure it can be very frustrating to get the same question over and over its as if they dont listen when the athletes give the answers.

    1. The thing is, the journalist “has” to ask “their” version of the same question, even if the question has already been answered by the athlete

      All so the journalist can say they got the “(named athlete) told me…” answer.

      This stance could be the journalist’s own decision or they might have been “instructed” to do so by their employer. Who knows?

      1. Sorry Simon, I just accidentally clicked report instead of reply on your question.
        I really hope they see this and dont delete it, because you didnt say anything wrong.

        Youre definitely right in what you say, but I think the problem with that is that they try put athletes up against each other off the court/track/field and it creates unnecessary tension and causes other issues for the athletes press teams and overall it becomes just unneeded distractions from the sport they are competing in that very weekend.

        And then when us as fans want to read an article about the race and strategies etc, we end up with articles continuing on for weeks about how Mercedes and RBR are in a war of mind games, when all it really is, is journos asking questions and then manipulating the answers so everyone is like “oOoH MiNdGaMeS”

        To be fair, this is seldom and nearly never the case with RaceFans, but I always make an effort to see what is being said across the various F1 news sites, and most of it is BS tabloid type journalism.

        Journalism is a responsibility. They aren’t meant to be out there creating stories, but reporting on the stories that exist already.

  6. There are too many instances of repeated questions that have extremely predictable answers which get incredibly boring and tedious, but also a lot of the “spicier” questions they get asked are often disrespectful (Andrew Benson comes to mind). I understand why drivers would get annoyed with answering questions from the press. But I also sympathise with some of the journalists, as the press conference is usually a tough place to ask questions and people are competing over air time. It’s no coincidence the best interviews with drivers tend to be the one-on-ones where they have a lot more time and a more relaxed environment for their answers, and the interviewer has time to build up the questions instead of only having the chance for one.

    1. @mashiat I think you may mean Jonathan McEvoy… I don’t recall Benson ever being disrespectful although I’m happy to be proved wrong.

      1. @geemac Could be, I can’t remember off the top of my head exactly, but I do recall a few instances where I felt Benson was a bit provocative with his questions. Ben Hunt is another one that comes to mind, his attitude towards Toto Wolff after that 2019 German GP was pretty poor, to be honest.

        1. @wsrgo This is precisely the clip that I was thinking about when I wrote Andrew Benson, I just completely forgot what the question was or the context, I just remember leaving that video with the impression that Benson is unfairly trying to obtain a clickbait headline with his questions. Was he also not the one who posed the “contact with Lewis is inevitable” question to Max in Monaco?

        2. I do indeed stand corrected. Thanks @wsrgo.

    2. The problem for me is that their are certain journos out there who love to create a story instead of reporting on what exists.

      This whole mind-games thing between Max and Lewis comes to mind.
      As soon as you realize its all to do with them answering loaded questions by journos and that it has been fabricated more than anything.

  7. I think organisers of the French open handled the Osaka situation poorly, or perhaps underestimated the problems she was experiencing. Surely they could have opened a dialogue with her and tried to come to some kind of compromise for reduced media requirements to ensure her wellbeing, while still contributing to their ‘entertainment’ needs.

    I hope that this occurrence has brought the broader situation to light though and so organisers of tennis tournaments and other sports can open discussions about how these things should be handled going forward. They are professional athletes after all – not spokespeople, politicians or businesspeople. Do we want the best competitors in their sport competing? I would argue yes, and it’s perfectly reasonable that someone who is exceptional at their sport might be uncomfortable or even suffer anxiety from being forced into excessive media obligations. They have to allow some flexibility and allowances for athletes who have genuine anxiety or mental health problems, as the heavy-handed approach taken by the French Open organisers has resulted in the withdrawal of one of the top players in the tournament, which is a bad outcome for all parties involved.

    1. @keithedin

      I don’t think the organizers ever got the opportunity. Osaka seems to have unilaterally decided to boycott the pressers and refused to talk to the organizers until after the event. That seems extremely unfair to the organizers, who never got the chance to even discuss this with her.

      They are professional athletes after all – not spokespeople, politicians or business people.

      This is just not true. Professional athletes are typically sponsored and the events are just about always sponsored. That means that the athletes are sales people as well.

      Do we want the best competitors in their sport competing? I would argue yes

      You can argue it, but it’s completely unrealistic. The athletes need to be paid and that money needs to come from somewhere.

      from being forced into excessive media obligations.

      How long are these post-game pressers? 15 minutes?

      But, you have your narrative, I suppose.

      1. @aapje Perhaps Osaka could have done more from her side, but from what I’ve seen the organisers did very little to prevent this turn of events. And I have an opinion, not a ‘narrative’, so please don’t make it out that I’m trying to misrepresent anything because I have some sort of agenda.

        1. @keithedin

          The organizers were presented with a fait accompli by Osaka’s own admission. They never seem to have gotten a chance. Your claim that they did very little to prevent something they had no clue was going to happen and where Osaka seemed totally unwilling to try to solve it later on, is silly.

          And you are consistently misrepresenting, exaggerating and otherwise being biased in one direction, to support a narrative without allowing for any nuance. I haven’t even come close to addressing all of those in my comment. For example, your assertion that the organizers “have to allow some flexibility and allowances” is false. Osaka had to agree to attend the press conferences to be allowed to compete, so from a legal point of view, she was breaking her contract and the organizers are in the right. And from a moral point of view it is hardly obvious that her mental issues are something the organizers have to solve, rather than herself, the mental health system, etc. Yet you present a radical claim in passing and as if it is completely uncontroversial, where someone can shirk their job duties based on a mere claim of having mental issues (without providing proof from a mental health expert, or discussing their needs with their employer beforehand) and it is then on the employer to accede to the demands.

    2. If she had chosen to shut up and simply don’t go to the press conference, she would likely only have received a fine.
      Instead she decided to make a big deal out of it beforehand and saying she didn’t see a fine as a punishment, so the French Open was forced into issuing a harsher punishment.

      1. Osaka prepared the press and the public for her decision. I think that’s the least we could expect. Other wise a sudden retirement from the press/sport would have just been seen by them as a further excuse for more poisoned spectulations.

        Few outside of the public arena can imagine what the life is like. More so for someone like Osaka who wouldn’t naturally seek the lime light.

        These ‘performers’ live with phenominal levels of adrenaline, sustained year in year out and it will have these other effects on their well being. These performers, sports stars, pop stars and others are never prepared for that life. Some succumb to the lure of drugs, others for proscribed medications and are then seen as failures. Some find solice in alternative religions, personal gurus etc. Most will posion themselves with alcohol as the typically social thing to do. They are never prepared for that life and the trappings which comes with it.

        There is so much more to being the best, let alone remaining the best year in year out.

  8. I legitimately feel sorry for F1 drivers sometimes. The amount of media obligations that they have to tend to is insane. On top of the journalists, they have obligations to Liberty and their own teams and sponsors. They are treated as cows to be milked. And then you also have the idiots that chase them for unsolicited selfies.

  9. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    1st June 2021, 13:01

    Speaking as someone who struggles with anxiety and mental health, I fully support her choice. Sometimes the questions that athletes are asked afterwards are quite awful – like even at Monaco one of them asking Leclerc ‘how are you feeling having lost this? Can you help us understand how you feel’. Like the dude’s literally lost pole position, at home, and a realistic chance of winning only like forty minutes prior and you’re asking him to explain himself? I get they want a story and us as viewers are interested in hearing that information but putting someone on the spot after something that’s going to be obviously hard for them is quite gross, to be honest.

    There are drivers that clearly revel in the attention and then there are those that don’t, and allowances should be made. Equally there are some press and questions that are fine and then there are others that really aren’t, and that should be policed more. We are entitled to access to them, but not at the expense of their health – we could all do with being a bit more understanding.

    1. Well said. Very brave of you to share your own issues too. You’re not alone. Mental issues and anxiety generally are a silent epidemic.

      Osaka has raised awareness of her own battles and I think that is an important thing for her to do if we are to move forward.

      A few decades ago a sportsperson would answer questions at a press conference and then walk away. In the 21st Century they jump into a car and have Twitter, Facebook and other social media feeds incessantly pecking away at their brains literally 24/7. The dilemma is: Do they withdraw from social media and give short, frosty answers in interviews – risking a media backlash and accusations of arrogance – or do they carry on with the facade and keep damaging their mental health? The answer is obvious but it will take bravery from the likes of Osaka before others do so en masse and before the world becomes a little more respectful of what it means to be human.

    2. I also suffer from mental health issues and anxiety @rocketpanda and I also support her choice to withdraw from the tournament. I think all sides could have handled things quite a bit better, but maybe the silver lining is that by the situation being so toxic it resulted in a dramatic event which may actually result in a positive change for all of sports.

      I think Osaka could have handled things better by not unilaterally announcing right before the tournament that she would not participate in press conferences and refused to speak with tournament organizers about her decision until after the tournament was over. This placed them in a difficult position when one of the largest stars was refusing to participate in an aspect that allows fans to become more connected to the player and to the tournament. And because I am sure she is not the only player who suffers from bouts of depression or suffers from anxiety, she created an unfair advantage for herself when she could refuse to do press conferences and her competitors could not. Mental health is health. When your brain is not healthy you need to spend time getting it healthy. Professional athletes should be spending as much time ensuring their mental health is as prepared for competition as is their physical health. Honestly everyone should spend as much time ensuring their mental health is as fit as their physical health, if not more.

      The organizers could have done a far better job of handling this through their statements. While in private they seemed to want to work things out, in public they took a very tough stance and even in their last comment they indicate they don’t really understand what it is she is going through. It became a “my way or the highway” mentality and that is not conducive to a dialog with someone who has indicated they are in degraded mental health at the moment.

      And finally the press could have done a far better job. I am sure Osaka is not unique. I am sure there are others across all sports who have the same complaints and are suffering as much or perhaps more than Osaka. Osaka was able to make the stand because she is financially well off and is amongst the most popular players in her sport. The press should not have to shy away from asking tough questions, it is part of their job, but they should be fair. They should also be cognizant they are dealing with a human being and not a robot. There seems to be a lot of trying to catch athletes out and causing a quick “gotcha” soundbite they can post causing more hits, likes or retweets. That should not be the goal of each press conference. We want to find out what happened, not expose a raw nerve for all to see and get an outburst that was spoken when the athlete may be at their most fragile. But many in the press see their job as exposing those raw nerves and provoking outbursts.

      I wish Osaka the very best. I support her in her struggles and I hope that this can spark a larger conversation on how everyone can do better when it comes to mental health.

  10. Turns out that you can’t just inform everyone that you will intentionally breach your contract and then expect to get away with it without any kind of consequence.
    Who would have thought?

    If she’s truly having mental health issues, I hope she takes the necessary steps to get help and treatment.
    But simply skipping out on half of your job isn’t going to solve anything.

    1. I’d like to think that playing tennis is what fans await to see like 95% of the time. Half??! Lol. Sure this stuff plays a part but it should never be as important as playing the game itself. If a player wants to skip the occasional media briefing let them. They’re all human beings too.

      It’s so often, probably almost always, the media side of life that causes issues with celebrities and sportspeople, just because someone does their job in the spotlight shouldn’t mean their entire lives need to be lived in the spotlight as well. How many people have suffered because some absolute scum tabloid journalist has hounded them over insignificant or irrelevant nonsense or twisted words to create an exciting sounding story where there is none? It’s about time this level of journalism was ousted altogether. If you have intelligent questions and treat people with respect go for it, if you just want a sensational headline at another persons expense then maybe that needs weeded out altogether.

      I’m with Osaka on this.

      1. I’m not taking sides – just pointing out that the role of a professional athlete is multifaceted.

      2. Just because some fans may think the matches are the most important part of a tournament it doesn’t mean the press duties are not.

        Plus there’s a wild difference between a tabloid hack to an accredited sports journalist asking questions at a organised conference at a sponsored event to one of the competitor’s who have signed up to take part. It is a true part of the job and contributes greatly to there prize money on offer. If you’re not up to it then by all means stay away and get the help you need but you can’t just cherry pick the parts of a job to suit yourself only or where does it stop. Could I ask for my competitors supporters to be banned from the stadium, because each time my competitor scores a point or does something well they cheer and clap and it puts me off?

  11. Osaka seems to be confusing journalists with cheerleaders and therapists, but that’s fundamentally not what a proper journalists is. It’s normal for people to lie to themselves to protect their ego and to expect people around them to go along with those lies to some extent. The most painful remarks are often those with truth to them. An athlete who doesn’t choke, will just brush off a question about choking, while an athlete who actually has tension-issues, can get really upset when asked about it.

    To some extent, lying to yourself is pretty healthy. If we all face up to all our deficiencies and are honest about our needs, then we would probably be much more depressed and less hopeful. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect journalists to not unnecessarily hurt people and instead, to weigh interests. However, you can’t make people’s (claimed) mental needs paramount, because then you can no longer question people in power, investigate success & failure, nor publish important truths. Also, mental health needs can clash. For example, the kind of lies that can benefit one person, can work as gaslighting for another person.

    Ultimately, professional sports exists by virtue of public interest. Lots of people play sports without an audience or fans. Those people also don’t get paid. The financial model of professional sports is build in large part around exploiting the interest that ‘normal’ people have in exceptional competitive performance and the athletes themselves. This is why those who pay athletes almost always expect those athlete to engage with the media, fans and such. If Osaka wants to be part of that system and get paid lots of money, which in large part is generated (indirectly) by media interest, then it seems reasonable that she plays her part.

    Osaka’s complaint that she’s not a natural speaker has a solution: media training. If a job has a requirement, then it is first and foremost the responsibility of the person who wants to do the job to get themselves trained for that job. It’s not necessary to deliver a top tier media performance or even to answer every question.

    Perhaps some people cannot cope with this, but it seems unreasonable to undermine an entire system just because some people cannot or do not want to cope.

    1. They are where they are because they are the best in the world. You garner interest by having the best players in the world. In Osaka’s case, not having her compete definitely hurts the tournament more than compromising and finding a solution with her.

      Perhaps some people cannot comprehend how debilitating mental illness can be, but it seems unreasonable to assume that any assertion that mental health is affected by press commitments is made up and undermines the entire system.

    2. Sorry pressed wrong button

      Your absolutely 100% right

      If being bound by your contractual obligations to be the highest paid sportswoman are so wearing and affecting you so badly go and join those of us that actually pay to undertake the sport personally ourselves and enjoy it for what it is.

      I would put up with a few conferences to have a free motorsport career and switch off the computer frankly. She may think differently.

      Mental health is surely more important than the money and kudos – or is it?

      Because in between her initial outburst and the second the tournament sent her a letter asking if they could help with her well being (see Telegraph journalist writings)

  12. What you are not reporting on are the insane requirements of sports-stars to conduct full interviews immediately after their events. In the case of tennis, they are required to address the press 30 minutes after their matches have ended. At the French Open, matches can take many hours to complete. Players are still digesting the event, super tired and mentally drained, when they then have to face the press. Honestly, I find it absurd.

    I also find it absurd that Osaka was threatened with expulsion. She was clear that this is a measure taken for her mental health. She was shown no respect, which is unfortunately too common with regards to sportsmen and women.

    Imagine how wound up Hamilton must have been to make those comments. Imagine how wound up Verstappen was when he said he’d punch a journalist for asking him about the incidents at the start of that year. It’s easy to think they are worked up, but consider how long this was bothering them both before or after. Generally struggling with mental health could easily see them enter a spiral, and we’d never know. We don’t deserve to know. But sportstars don’t deserve that type of treatment.

    Any sane organisation would respect the competitors, and make them competing healthily their priority. IMO, they deserve protection and some leeway from organisers. In Osaka’s case, for organisers to not compromise at all is such an unnecessary and tone-deaf action.

    I do have one question though. With regards to media responsibilities, who’s responsibility is it to protect the competitors from harassment? If it is the event organisers, in Osaka’s case, they should have sat down with all parties involved and come to a compromise. In F1’s case, do you moderate journalists? Is that being done now, and is it different now to 2016? How are those that are supposed to protect the drivers going about their business?

  13. I think motorsport journalists tend to be less problematic than tennis journalists. Not because of repetitious questioning (both sports do plenty of that, and this feels like an issue that could be solved), but because from what I’ve seen, motorsports journalists ask far fewer harmfully weird/invasive questions. There’s a lot recognition that the same athletes are the people one interviews week after week, and that going to the point of upsetting them isn’t productive to the journalist or the athlete.

    Yes, the press conference as a whole is a structure that needs reworking in the era of social media and big pay broadcasters. However, there are a bunch of smaller-scale changes that would also help, that would cement the idea that journalists and drivers have to work with each other over the long term, and for some of them, tennis could usefully look to F1 for guidance. (Simply going back to “fine/reprimand people who don’t do press” instead of “throw them out of the competition” would be a good start).

  14. If I was a Formula One driver I’d happily forego a multi-million dollar salary if it means I could avoid media obligations.

    1. But then you wouldn’t be a Formula 1 driver anymore.

      1. I agree. A Formula 1 driver doesn’t just represent themselves, they represent their team and all the team’s sponsors. Some of those sponsorship deals took a lot of time and effort to secure. A corporation isn’t going to hand over millions of dollars to a team (or tennis player) if they aren’t prepared to show their brand name on TV.

  15. Good for her. Many sports are over covered, leading to repetitive, sometimes insulting questions.

  16. Oh dear. Not even a mention of the media practically bullying Rosberg during the critical part of his campaign 2016, or that had it been any other driver snubbing the media, there would be little or no understanding, likely a huge backlash. With Hamilton, everyone is A-Ok with that and it was all a ‘racist’ message. Of course.

    1. I’ve got no idea where that rant come from.

      This whole discussion is about the very stuff you mentioned in your first couple of sentences.

      1. What are you talking about? Where does it say Osaka or Hamilton were bullied?

        And the rant was the article. Making it about mental health and racism when it’s actually about negativity and not about racism at all. With Hamilton it was just diva and ego, just because someone dared to criticize him for playing with his phone during a press conference. Maybe even the same for Osaka as quitting a tournament just because she has to answer lame questions all the time speaks of the same.

        Here a story is spun just to make it about Hamilton and put him in a favorable light when it was all lies. As if he was bothered by racist questions by the press or has a mental issue from them when he usually gets the most softball questions imaginable, and is never confronted in any way. He even acknowledges it by admitting that a lot of the press is super supportive.

        If any story should be made about this, it should be about truly negative press, like the biased one supporting their countryman or hero by picking on their rivals to aid in critical moments like happened to Rosberg, but no. Just more fanbased biased false reporting.

    2. Rosberg had to deal with backhand comments from the British media from 2014 to 2016, yet he didn’t complain about it. Other sportsmen should have taken notice

      1. @paeschli I bet a large part why he didn’t want to continue. That and the shameless bias by his team management. But who cares about that. He’s just a privileged non-British white kid. Free to attack at will.

  17. Bring James Hunt back!

  18. Just a personal story here. When I first started out training as an architect, I was extremely anxious in my first job (and still to this day get very nervous and anxious), however that is the job. I can tell you if you’re an anxious person and specifying materials on projects that might one day hurt people, that is nerve racking and speaking to people is also very nerve racking, however I have to do a job that earns money to pay for food and things. That’s what life is for me, sometimes it’s just very very difficult.

    This is why I honestly have little sympathy here. Sure you can get nervous before press conferences but these professional sports people are very well paid, no-one is making them do it. She could become an author, work down a mine, a computer scientist, whatever but if you want to earn the money from a grand slam then yes occasionally you are going to partake in some mentally challenging things.

    That’s just life (it really is). Life is very hard, at times the nerves completely have overtaken me (I have had panic attacks myself, they are not fun) as I try not to make a mistake in my career, but I have to do it to earn money to pay for things. I feel like this opinion is lost, hence I wanted to make my thoughts known as to why I really don’t have that much sympathy with this.

    Anyway there we go.

    1. Nerve wracking!

    2. Marinated Monolith (@)
      1st June 2021, 19:55

      This mentality of ‘I’ve sufferred so others should suffer too’ is not the way to go though. I mean, if I have the option to do away with some of the unsavory things I have to do at work, I’m pretty sure I’d take that choice and I don’t see why you shouldn’t do the same, @john-h.

      you are going to partake in some mentally challenging things

      I’d say being out on court alone, with millions of people putting you under a microscope is already challenging enough. I don’t see how adding a public dressing down after you lost a match is necessary.

      In the 2019 Australian Open final, Osaka had a couple of match points over Kvitova on the 2nd set but she couldn’t close the deal and Kvitova ended up taking the set. She visibly cried on court, but she took a bathroom break, collected herself, and went on to win the decider to take home the championship.
      I’m saying this here because people seem to think that what Osaka does on court is easy, as if playing singles tennis professionally (an insanely individual sport where smashed racquets are a common sight) doesn’t qualify as, as you say, “partake in some mentally challenging things”.

      Yes, she got paid the big bucks but that in no way diminishes the mental toll tennis has on her. Depression kinda sucks that way.

      1. @marinatedmonolith

        I don’t see John claiming that others should suffer for no reason, but that life is like that for many people and you can’t just expect that the world will change for one single individual’s benefit (which will often be at the expense of others).

        She visibly cried on court, but she took a bathroom break, collected herself, and went on to win the decider to take home the championship.
        I’m saying this here because people seem to think that what Osaka does on court is easy, as if playing singles tennis professionally (an insanely individual sport where smashed racquets are a common sight) doesn’t qualify as, as you say, “partake in some mentally challenging things”.

        But your example demonstrates that she does this to herself… Nobody came on court and asked her a nasty question that made her cry…

        I understand that we live in a time where it is popular to blame everyone else and to demand that they solve the problems (ironically, mostly among the most privileged), but to claim that a 15 minute presser is particularly challenging is not going to convince me.

        Yes, she got paid the big bucks but that in no way diminishes the mental toll tennis has on her. Depression kinda sucks that way.

        The big bucks allows her to get a ton of support & training, that many people in equally or (way) more challenging situations do not get. If despite all those resources, she is unable to function when she gets criticism, then perhaps this job is not for her? Being a public figure and thus being judged is part of the job. It’s not going to go away.

        1. Marinated Monolith (@)
          1st June 2021, 22:31

          I don’t see John claiming that others should suffer for no reason, but that life is like that for many people and you can’t just expect that the world will change for one single individual’s benefit (which will often be at the expense of others).

          Plenty of players have pretty much said, whether outright or implied, that postmatch presser is something they suffer through, not just Osaka. Serena Williams has had her fair share of combative and emotional moments with the press, so does Jo Konta, definitely Novak Djokovic, and these are just ones I remember at the top of my head.

          And you claiming that the world shouldn’t change for the benefit of one at the expense of others even though the current situation pretty much benefits the media and the tournaments (those sponsored backdrops need some screentime) at the expense of the players themselves is pretty disingenious.

          But your example demonstrates that she does this to herself… Nobody came on court and asked her a nasty question that made her cry…

          You’re taking things out of context. I’m putting that example to refute John H’s implication that what Osaka does on a regular basis, playing singles tennis, isn’t mentally challenging. Or that Osaka is somehow soft even though her bouncing back after Kvitova’s comeback in that match proves that even at 21 at the time, she’s proven herself to be just as mentally tough as the considerably more experienced Kvitova.

          And no, she does not “does this to herself”. Tennis is a mentally intense sport and being out on court alone isn’t easy.
          She’s far from the only player who’s had a breakdown of sorts on court but she’s won 4 Slams (the last one being this year’s Australian Open), she’s been the number 1 player in the world and has been consistently one of the best players in the game since 2018 so to say that tennis is not for her is kinda daft.
          She is now simply exercising her decision to put her mental health above the sometimes predatory press conferences.

          Anxiety isn’t self-inflicted and neither is depression. Like, it’s not something you do to yourself voluntarily. Sure, you can manage it with training and whatnot but it’s tougher on some people compared to others.

          I think you’re kinda mistaking her withdrawal as some sort of a crusade though. Her public statements are framed mostly as her personal decision to not partake in the postmatch press conferences and her withdrawal was voluntary as well.
          It’s pretty much when all 4 Slams made a joint statement threatening her expulsion and suspension to future Slams that things kinda fell out of hand.

          1. @marinatedmonolith

            It’s clear that a lot of athletes don’t like the pressers, but a lot of kids don’t always or never like school, a lot of employees don’t always or never like work. To a certain extent these negative experiences are necessary, or at least, a cost for which people are compensated. I have a hard time seeing a 15 minute presser as a human rights violation, certainly compared with way worse things that happen in our society.

            And you claiming that the world shouldn’t change for the benefit of one at the expense of others even though the current situation pretty much benefits the media and the tournaments (those sponsored backdrops need some screentime) at the expense of the players themselves is pretty disingenious.

            Can you explain what is disingenuous here, because you seem to agree with me that there is a cost to others?Is your disagreement with me that you don’t care about the media (and by extension, the media consumers), the tournaments, etc?

            Note that tournaments doing poorly and a lack of media attention will reduce athlete pay. A lot of people ignore second order effects, which is why so much policy is has unexpected consequences to the people who ignore these effects.

            And no, she does not “does this to herself”.

            Well, then, who made her cry? Why do many other athletes not cry in the same circumstances?

            Anxiety isn’t self-inflicted

            That just nonsense. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is quite effective at reducing extreme anxiety. The very nature of the issue is that it is self-inflicted.

            I think you’re kinda mistaking her withdrawal as some sort of a crusade though

            I never said so. I think that she is quite ignorant, perhaps also due to her insistence to not have anyone around her who doubts her. I don’t think that she understands how unreasonable she is being and what impact her behavior has on others. This is all encouraged by modern culture.

        2. “John H’s implication that what Osaka does on a regular basis, playing singles tennis, isn’t mentally challenging. “

          Sorry @marinatedmonolith but that’s not what I’ve said at all in my comment. Not at all, I completely refute that.

    3. @john-h

      Osaka also seems to be putting pressures on herself to give interesting answers, which is self-inflicted. There are plenty of people who have to perform at a fairly high level or people (may) die.

  19. Interesting story.
    I see several problems with the press.
    A lot of the same questions, only because they can tell it was their interview.
    Press asking questions with pre baked answer, the using the lines as if it was a remark by the driver.
    Headlines only for sensation and often not covering the real content.
    Made up or blown up story’s about behavior by the driver.
    Press creating news and not reporting news.
    Creating or suggesting animosity between drivers ( I. E. Netflix)

  20. If kimi can ensure press conferences for so many years so can she..

    1. “I got sprayed with all kinds of crap!”

  21. If governing bodies want to obligate athletes to participate in press briefings then make it a specifically contracted requirement with a dollar value associated with it. If any athlete doesn’t want to participate then they can opt out. The value can be defined as a percentage of any prize moneys they might win in a tournament/competition. For those who want to build their brand they will see it as a win win. If some opt out then maybe that increases the pool for everyone else. If there is obvious value to participating then fewer athletes will want to opt out for spurious reasons.

  22. You only have to click on the Express or Mail today to get a host of F1 headlines that are complete nonsense. And 90% of the nonsense you read from those who are not f1 accredited or attend the races is gleaned from the televised press conferences anyway. Not forgetting the stories that teams plant through their tame journos, and ‘a reliable source’ turns out to be none other than another teams PR dept.
    Still when Netflix puts radio traffic over a different race, and their woke mouthpiece spins a whole heap of nonsense with a straight face; yet people still lap it up as some sort of truth and race for the comments section, you realise what the sportsperson actually says is pretty irrelevant in the scheme of things. Just be like Hamilton; use the press for your own ends.

  23. And just as I have a look at twitter…. another part of equation.


  24. A symptom of our current snowflake culture. Press has existed for multiple decades in professional sports and all previous athletes handled it just fine. If a sportsman can’t handle the press and it throws off their game, they should train for that (with a coach or a psychologist) to improve upon it, just like they improve their skills for actually playing the sport.
    Plus they always have the choice not to answer questions they deem disrespectful… I really don’t see the issue.
    Some players were bullied for multiple years by other players, the fans and the press and still managed to climb to the top and stay on top. Tennis and it’s media is tame in comparison.

  25. Marinated Monolith (@)
    1st June 2021, 19:15

    Singles tennis is a completely different beast as it is ultimately an individual sport where competitors face each other alone, with millions of people in the audience. Like, when things go south, it’s 90% going to be on you and people are gonna know. I get it if the winners are obliged to face the media afterwards but for the losers as well? That’s messed up and I watch tennis regularly.

    I’ve seen people on Twitter comparing Osaka’s situation with the NFL, NBA, and now with F1 and I don’t know, I’m pretty sure tennis players in general have had it a lot worse. When the press freely quotes your unforced errors and double faults after you lost a match, things can get pretty brutal. Not to mention of course, the casual mysogyny like the time Simona Halep was asked about her breast reduction surgery years after she had it, in a postmatch press conference.

    Press conferences in general need a lot of work though. Half of the journalists are simply going through the motions and asking the same generic questions while others are of the ‘gotcha journalism’ variety because that’s just how things are. No disrespect to Dieter, but I’ve had a lot more fun reading your Paddock Diaries than seeing you during the official presser and it’s rare for anything of value to come out of these events.

    And Keith, I would’ve never expected you of all people to quote CJ Cregg!

  26. Bruno Verrari
    1st June 2021, 20:03

    How come the Indycar guys are so easy-going and interactive, without primadonnish fall-outs – a signature dish of overpaid sportsmen?

    1. One of the rare positive effects of having no culture

  27. If their “mental health problems” prevent them from fully participating and fullfilling obligations, then the answer is simple. Quit the sport.

  28. I sympathise and throw my support for Naomi Osaka.

  29. These people make MILLIONS of dollars. If they can’t handle it, find another job. It is well known what is required to live a public life. They get adequately compensated for it.

  30. Some of the comments show the incredible but expected level of ignorance and selfishness shown by to many people. Being an elite athlete does not equate to immunity from health issues physical or mental. Infact it can be the driving force behind their success. Anxiety/depression is one of the most isolating and debilitating issues a human will face.

    1. If you can’t handle the spotlight, then get out of it. They get paid more than enough to compensate for the difficult aspects of their CHOSEN profession. No one is forcing them to be an athlete. Osaka doesn’t have someone behind the scenes pointing a gun at her head. I have no sympathy for people like that at all.

      1. I guess the only thing remaining then is that they wont be able to show how good they are to the world public. Because I agree, nobody needs to participate. You can play really nice tournaments all over the world that not even attract press. Sure, you wont get much pay, but you can’t prioritise money over mental health like she does, now can you? Thats just destructive. She shouldnt be around if she cant handle it. Maybe her mngt is forcing her? So back to the real problem then: not being able to perform so the world can see it. I think people with a handicap (whatever that is, in this case mental) should be enabled to shine at the highest level, hence taking their hurdles away. A World cup, not sponsored without press? Not very likely.

  31. Pro athletes are far too often nothing but overpaid crybabies who think the world should grovel before them while bending the rules to accommodate their spinelessness.

  32. I’m a visual person. Words don’t come naturally though I can make them work for short periods. My whole life I’ve been forced to do things like everyone else, even if it goes against my natural wiring.

    It is beyond time that we accepted people as individuals with strengths and weaknesses and not force them into situations that aren’t natural for them. Like cost barriers for F1, media appearnces can exclude really talented people that should be in sport.

    Personally, i couldn’t care less about interviews. News yes and if someone wants to talk, I’ll listen. But mostly I want to see the best sport possible. Time for these event organisers to pull their head out…

  33. Total non issue. Nobody forces you to participate. But when you want to, certain obligations have to be met. Should you not be able to handle these, it might be better not to participate. You can play Tennis anywhere or organise your own event. On the other side press might learn from this, but they won’t.

  34. Just ask Kimi how it’s done. Within a couple of press conferences the journalists will be so anxious they won’t show up anymore. Problem solved.

    1. For all that people go on about Raikkonen being difficult in press conferences, he actually gives really good answers sometimes, particularly since he joined Alfa Romeo. To borrow a cliche, he certainly doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but ask him the right question and he tends to give more thoughtful responses than some other drivers on the grid.

      1. That’s the point, really. I think if the press asks meaningful questions about the job professional athletes are doing, with respect to the effort these athletes put in there wouldn’t be a lot of athletes having difficulty with press conferences at all. But the reality is that a good number aren’t even pretending to be interested in the sport at all, but only the drama that goes with it. At this very moment the press is asking questions to Hamilton and Verstappen to maximise animosity between them it seems. Both respect each other, but are consistently being asked about contacts and who is responsible for them. And no, I am not trying to open the debate about that here :-)

    2. Yes, or like Max announce you will headbutt the next one. Worked as well

  35. I 100% support Osaka; also it’s quite hilarious to see so many commenters commit the traitorous critic fallacy unknowingly lol

  36. This is a very important incident for the future of people with mental health issues in sports, and how the world and media will react to this. Unfortunately for them, this incident paints media as one of the causes, so it’s not very likely that many media outlets will support this cause.
    Osaka case is clear. If you’ve seen her first grand slam final against Serena Williams, you’ve seen how extremely anxious she was because of the crowd and media. She is currently one of the best tennis players in the world, and I’m sure that if you follow the sport, you’re much more interested in watching her killing the ground strokes than saying the same things over and over again on press conferences.
    I mean there are a few sentences most sportspeople say after any match in any sport – if they win “I played well today, the opponent was tough, but I took my chances. Next opponent is difficult and has my respect, but I will prepare for tomorrow to do my best and leave my heart on the field”… How many times have you heard that? How often someone says anything other than something like this? It’s tough for journalists to come up with stories, especially with media tending to go for clickbaits (this site is one of the very few exceptions).
    Ultimately, if you don’t want to talk to media, you’re likely to miss out on some sponsorship money, but it mustn’t exclude you from sport events. The organisers can separate prize money for achieving results and sponsorship money for talking on press conferences, but I’m sure that the real tennis fans would still rather watch Osaka play, than the joint Djokovic-Nadal-Federer press conference.
    I’m saddened that the majority of comments here refuse to acknowledge the seriousness of mental health issues, I was honestly expecting that majority would support people in need.
    Kudos to racefans for writing this article. You’ve reaffirmed my respect for you as the best and least toxic motor sport website.

    1. No, it simply is not believable that a person can play tennis in front of millions with the pressure of championships, and not have the mind to deal with a few journalists asking the same questions.

  37. Keith and Dieter, Sirs, i would love read a piece of yours on journalistic etiquette / ethics, and any back stories on offenders / drivers being picked on etc.

    1. @david-beau Good call, but won’t happen as there is no exception here. It’s the usual hail the winner, bash the loser as everywhere else, only done with a ‘Guardian’ PC-twist (to justify it).

      Though there is a funny case the other way where Ricciardo actually turned on Rencken in one of the pre-race conferences. As we know, Dieter is one of the best questioners there, but can be quite pushy and for placid Ricciardo to get provoked was quite an achievement. After the 2nd or 3rd question, he mockingly repeated his name (like a 1st grader would): ‘Dieter Rencken…’ and laughed. Not nice at all. Credit to Dieter for not carrying a grudge after that and put him down in his writings, as it would have been easy.

  38. Some people in the media have this entitled attitude as if public figures owe them something. I’m not much of a tennis fan, but I loved seeing Osaka call their bluff and give them all the metaphorical finger.

  39. I’m preparing my ‘I’m offended by what Hamilton said about the subject this weekend’ post as we speak.

  40. I can see where Osaka is coming from. She’s been outspoken on various issues, which will unfortunately attract the various organs of the state, who will act in ways to undermine her mental state. That’s almost a given. You’ll then have various members of the press whom it seems will ask the same questions to get the same responce. X was writen so they always have to ask about x, as if they were learning this for the first time, or had to start out by seeking confirmation of x. They wont see their routine habits from her point of view. Nor it seems will they care about their effects. Unless you are super resilent, it will be debilitating, frustrating, tedious, bordering on anxiety forming. Then there’s background Osaka, she’s not one ofthose people who have always sought the lime light. She happens to be very good at tennis which these days is considered an extesion of the entertainment industry, before its seen as a disciplined sport.

    Its another sign of our times. The habits and routines which we grow into without much thought for their effects.

  41. It’s part of the job, don’t like it or don’t have the capacity to take harsh questions then don’t play professionally. The tournament has prize money because of the press. The coverage draws in sponsors. Not even questioning about whether she use mental health as an excuse or not. You may say oh its Sport, so only how she plays matter. NAH, its a job. If you are not up to the job, quit it, or wait till you get fired.

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