World number one Novak Djokovic hailed Naomi Osaka as “courageous and bold” for withdrawing from the dressing Open and revealing her struggles with anxiety and depression but admitted he wasn’t surprised she had been threatened with a Grand Slam ban. “I improve her. I think she was once very courageous to do this. I’m in reality sorry that she is going through painful times and suffering mentally,” said Djokovic on Tuesday.
“This was once, I should say, a very bold decision from her side. Whether she needs to take time and mirror and just recharge that is what she needed to do, and I respect it fully. I’m hoping that she’ll come back stronger.”
Osaka, the 23-year-old world number two, and four-time major winner, said she will take a break from tennis, putting her participation at Wimbledon and her home Olympics at risk.
She was once fined $15,000 and threatened with disqualification from Roland Garros after she refused to honour mandatory media commitments.
She claims they’re detrimental to her mental health and likened the traditional post-match news convention to “kicking people when they are down”.
Osaka said her mental health struggles began in 2018 when she won the first of her four majors at america Open in a controversial last against Serena Williams.
“The truth is I have suffered bouts of depression since america Open in 2018 and I have had a in reality tough time coping with that.”
“In Paris, I used to be already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was once better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences.”
Djokovic said he was once not surprised that the Grand Slams had threatened to extend sanctions against Osaka even for future majors.
“The Grand Slams are protecting themselves and their own commerce,” said Djokovic.
“Of class lesson they’ll follow the rules and they’ll just remember to are complying. Another way you can be paying fines and getting sanctioned. It is not surprising to me that that was once their reaction.”
Djokovic also hinted at the generational shift in the sport where traditional mainstream media is ceaselessly eclipsed by an athlete’s own social media platforms.
Osaka has 2.3 million followers on Instagram. On Twitter, she only follows 18 people.
“It was once the (traditional media) was once the only way we will reach out to our fans, correct, in the final five years or possibly 10 years, it isn’t the case anymore,” said Djokovic.
“We have our own platforms, our own social media accounts through which we are in a position to convey directly with fans.
“Naomi, she’s very young and she grew up with obviously with social media and ability to speak out through her channels.”
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