Naomi Osaka, the Japanese professional tennis player and world’s highest paid athlete, has withdrawn from French Open citing anxiety and depression.
The move has stirred debate in the sporting world, seeing that Osaka, winner of Four Grand Slam titles, mints a pretty penny from tennis. In the last 12 months, she has raked in $55.2 million -on and off court – from endorsement deals with firms such as Nike, Beats by Dre, Mastercard and Nissin.
“Unfortunately, Ms Osaka is an arrogant spoiled brat whose fame and fortune appears to have inflated her ego to gigantic proportions,” writes widely-read Daily Mail columnist Piers Morgan. “How else to explain her extraordinary decision to announce she will no longer participate in media press conferences, supposedly to protect her mental health?”
In social media posts, Osaka, 23, said she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018.
Orgy of Narcissistic Twaddle
“Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety,” she added. Morgan dismisses her claims as an “orgy of narcissistic twaddle.”
Osaka was fined $15,000 for refusing to appear before the media during the current French Open tournament. A joint statement from all four Grand Slam organisers said she will face “more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions. “
She defended herself: “Me not doing press is nothing personal to the tournament and a couple of journalists have interviewed me since I was young so I have a friendly relationship with most of them.”
“This has got nothing to do with mental health,” Morgan, who has etched a reputation in world media for calling out faux excuses as he sees them, says.
“What Osaka really means is that she doesn’t want to face the media if she hasn’t played well, because the beastly journalists might actually dare to criticize her performance, and she’s not going to ‘subject’ herself to ‘people that doubt me.
Osaka’s Clay Feet
“And the problem with the French Open is that it takes place on clay, her statistically weakest surface, so she probably won’t win it, and when she loses, she’ll be asked why she isn’t as good on clay.
In other words, she has no problem with the media lauding her undeniable brilliance with a tennis racket, right to the point they say anything negative, however reasonably and fact-based, because then they’re damaging her mental health.”
Osaka is currently seeded number two.