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ITF President says there must be a "mutual understanding" between players and journalists in wake of Naomi Osaka's mental health stance

Naomi Osaka at the Tokyo Olympics.
Naomi Osaka at the Tokyo Olympics.
Rohit R
ANALYST

David Haggerty, the president of the International Tennis Federation, recently spoke at length about a host of topics, including Naomi Osaka's media stance and the importance of press in tennis.

Prior to the start of this year's Roland Garros, Naomi Osaka announced she would be skipping her mandatory press conferences in order to safeguard her mental health and bring about a change in the way media interactions are conducted. She later withdrew from the tournament following her first-round win.

Her decision sparked a huge conversation regarding the mental health of athletes, with high-profile players across disciplines expressing their support for Osaka. A number of athletes, including gymnastics legend Simone Biles, even followed her example by taking some time away from their profession.

In a conversation with City A.M, Haggerty stated that tennis is one of the few sports that allows players to have an open discussion with the stakeholders to try and reach a compromise and move forward.

"We are champions for having people sit at the table and talk about what’s the best way," Haggerty said.

The ITF president added that it's important for the press to continue covering the sport going forward, but stressed that there must be a "mutual understanding" between players and the media.

"But to move forward we think it’s important that the players are covered by the media and the media are covering our events, so it’s important that continues. It’s just getting that right balance, that mutual understanding between players and journalists and tournaments and all the stakeholders together," he added.

Naomi Osaka is on yet another hiatus from tennis

Naomi Osaka at the 2021 US Open.
Naomi Osaka at the 2021 US Open.

Following her French Open withdrawal, Naomi Osaka took a break from tennis and even skipped Wimbledon. She returned to action at the Tokyo Olympics, where she was beaten by Marketa Vondrousova in the third round.

Osaka then took part in Cincinnati and the US Open, where she suffered an early exit at the hands of eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez.

Following her third-round exit at Flushing Meadows, the 24-year-old announced she would be taking another break from the sport, as she no longer enjoyed competing.

Osaka recently revealed that she hoped to return to action soon, although she did not provide any further details on her comeback plans.


Edited by Arvind Sriram
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