Nearly three months after her French Open media blackout prompted a firestorm and debates about media and mental health, Naomi Osaka returned to the press conference stage for the first time on Monday.
She broke down in tears.
AFTER TAKING A MOMENT AWAY FROM THE TABLE, OSAKA RETURNED TO FINISH ANSWERING QUESTIONS.
The four-time Grand Slam champion spoke with reporters ahead of this week’s Western & Southern Open, where she has pledged any and all of her winnings from the tournament to Haiti earthquake relief.
She immediately faced questioning about her relationship with media from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Daugherty, who prefaced his question by declaring “you’re not crazy about dealing with us … yet you have a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform.” He then asked, “how do you balance the two?”
“That’s interesting,” Osaka said after asking for clarification on what Daugherty meant by “I’m not crazy about dealing with you guys.”
“… I would say the occasion, like when to do the press conference is what I feel is the most difficult.”
“I’m actually very interested in that point of view,” she continued after the moderator asked if she’d like to move on. “For me I feel like this is something that I can’t really speak for everybody, I can only speak for myself. But ever since I was younger, I’ve had a lot of media interest on me, and I think it’s because of my background as well as how I play.
“But I would also say, I’m not really sure how to balance it too, I’m figuring it out at the same time as you are, I would say.”
As another reporter asked about tennis and her Haiti pledge (3:45 above), Osaka started to cry. She then took a break from the podium before returning to address more questions from reporters.