Naomi Osaka caused a great uproar 2 months back at the 2021 French Open when she decided to not interact with media in any sort of conference or interview during her stay at the Grand Slam in order to protect her mental well being. The decision saw Osaka received great flak for her decision and the matter escalated to a level after which Osaka pulled out from the tournament after Round 1.
Naomi however made her stand clear prior to the Olympics that she was looking forward to interacting with the media again as she did not play on the tour between the French Open and Olympics. Making her debut at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Naomi eased past China’s Saisai Zheng, winning 6-4, 6-3 in 1 hour and 27 minutes.
“For me, honestly, it’s not weird talking to you. It might sound weird to you, but I think I’m glad you’re asking me questions. It has been a long time since I last played an official match. I am very happy to be able to fight again on a court,” said Naomi while speaking to the media personnel after her victory.
Naomi Osaka is one of the favourite for the Gold Medal at this year’s Olympics
After her withdrawal from the French Open, Naomi informed about having bouts with depression for over 2 years and was taking a break to look after her mental health. But with media looming over her decision to talk with media during the Olympics, Naomi had given a written explanation as a guest editor for TIME, explaining her decision and what changes the media needed.
“We are playing in the midst of a pandemic and it is really very hard for everyone to have to play in these conditions. I would have liked the situation to be different from what we have today but it is so,” added Naomi after her match against Zheng.
With a win secured on her Olympics debut and World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty crashing out in the opening round, Osaka’s chances for the Gold Medal have increased as she is playing on her preferred surface, the Hardcourts, where she has won all 4 of her Grand Slam titles, the recent one being the 2021 Australian Open.
Naomi will take on Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic in the 2nd round of the Olympics on 26th July.