By Richard Pagliaro
Naomi Osaka is going silent mode for Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal respects the four-time Grand Slam champion’s decision, but suggests players should understand part of their job is trying to deliver answers on and off court.
“I respect it. I respect her, of course, as an athlete and her personality,” Nadal said when asked of Osaka’s decision today. “I respect her decision. I don’t know.
“I mean, we as sports people, I mean, we need to be ready to accept the questions and to try to produce an answer, no?”
Reigning US Open and Australian Open champion Osaka, who has posted a 2-1 record on red clay this season, stunned many by announcing she will not do any mandatory press conferences in Paris and will happily pay the fines she incurs as a result.
“I’m writing this to say I’m not going to do any press during Roland-Garros,” Osaka wrote on social media. “I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.”
Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Nadal, who has conducted thousands of press conferences in his career, said he believes the press provides a platform to help amplify the sport calling media “a very important part of our sport, too.”
“I understand her, but in the other hand, for me, I mean, without the press, without the people who normally is traveling who are writing the news and achievements that we are having around the world probably we will not be the athletes that we are today,” Nadal said. “We don’t gonna have the recognition that we have around the world, and we will not be that popular, no?
“So I understand her. In the other hand, I have my point of view that the media is a very important part of our sport, too.”
Photo credit: Rafa Nadal Academy