French Open legend Rafael Nadal, as well as Daniil Medvedev and women’s tennis number one Ashleigh Barty, said they would continue to talk to the press.
The trio were asked for their views of Naomi Osaka’s decision to step away from her press obligations during Roland-Garros in order to protect herself from the impact the duties have on her mental health.
None of the three criticised Osaka’s own choice but all acknowledged the role the press have to play in the sport, and that they are comfortable to continue dealing with the media.
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Nadal said: “I respect it. I respect her, of course, as an athlete and her personality. 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?
“I understand her, but on the other hand, for me, I mean, without the press, without the people who normally travel, who are writing the news and achievements that we are having around the world, we probably will not be the athletes that we are today. We [wouldn’t] have the recognition that we have around the world, and we will not be that popular, no?”
Barty meanwhile was relatively unconcerned with dealing with the press as part of her profession.
“We know what we sign up for as professional tennis players. I can’t really comment on what Naomi is feeling or her decisions she makes,” she said.
“At times press conferences are hard, of course, but it’s also not something that bothers me. I’ve never had problems answering questions or being completely honest with you guys. It’s not something that’s ever fazed me too much.”
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Medvedev also said he had no truck with journalists, given they were there to observe rather than instruct him.
I don’t see any journalist trying to go at me, you know,” he said.
“Of course we know, for example, I don’t win a lot on clay and I can get crazy. But I didn’t really have one journalist saying: ‘OK, you shouldn’t do this or that,’ because that’s when I’m going to get crazy. I’m going to say: ‘You cannot tell this to me.’”
“Talking about journalists, me, I have no problems. I try always to come to press conference [whether in a] bad mood or good mood. And I feel like even sometimes in the bad mood I can be in a better mood after talking to you guys.”
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