‘Reconsider or don’t play!’ – Mats Wilander urges Naomi Osaka to rethink press boycott

Naomi Osaka has been told she should reconsider her media boycott at the French Open because it is a ‘really bad move.’

Osaka took the decision to not attend any press conferences during the tournament, saying she will accept the fines instead in a bid to protect her mental health.

It is a move which has been roundly criticised, with the likes of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Billie Jean King, Ashleigh Barty, and Belinda Bencic all saying facing the press is an important part of the job.

Wilander has now joined that list, saying it is unfair to fans and her fellow players.

“Naomi Osaka, she should have played in the ’80s,” Eurosport expert Wilander said. “Because when I played, we never had a press conference before the tournament started.

“But then don’t go and play the tournament. Why should she be treated any differently to the other players? That’s not fair to the other players.

“So she definitely has to do it. She has sponsors; she is the highest paid female athlete in the world. We want to see great champions win, we want to see them celebrate, but we also want to be inspired by great athletes when things are tough.

“We are all struggling with mental issues these days during the pandemic, but Naomi, I think you need to reconsider or, I would say, don’t play in the tournament until you are ready to face the job.

“In Japan, she is absolutely huge, maybe the biggest athlete that any country has ever produced. And they don’t get to hear her talk. So yeah, it’s really a bad move and I love what all the players are saying about it.”

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