Novak Djokovic, the world number one, said Naomi Osaka was “brave and courageous” because she came out of the French Open and revealed her struggles with anxiety and depression, but admitted that she was not surprised to be threatened with a Grand Slam ban. “I admit. I think he was very brave to do that. I feel like he’s going through painful moments and he’s suffering from a headache,” Djokovic said on Tuesday.
“This, I must say, was a very bold decision on his part. If he has to take the time and reflect and recharge it he has to do it, and I totally respect that. I hope he comes back stronger.”
Osaka, the 23-year-old world number two and four-time major winner, has said he will take a break from tennis, jeopardizing his participation in Wimbledon and his home Olympics.
He was fined $ 15,000 and threatened with disqualification for Roland Garros after refusing to comply with mandatory media commitments.
They say they are detrimental to his mental health and compared the traditional post-match press conference to “the kicks that people give when they go down”.
Osaka said its mental health struggles began in 2018 when it won the first of four major U.S. Open finals in a controversial final against Serena Williams.
“Actually, I’ve been suffering from depressive crises since the US Open in 2018. and I’ve had a very hard time dealing with that.”
“In Paris, I was already feeling vulnerable and worried, so I thought better of doing self-care and skipping press conferences.”
Djokovic said he was not surprised that the Grand Slam had threatened to extend sanctions against Osaka for future seniors as well.
“Grand Slams are protecting themselves and their business,” Djokovic said.
“Of course, they’ll follow the rules and make sure you’re compliant. Otherwise, they’ll pay you fines and punish you. It’s no surprise to me that was their reaction.”
Djokovic reported on the generational change in the sport, where mainstream media often eclipsed an athlete’s social media platforms.
Osaka has 2.3 million followers on Instagram. On Twitter, he only follows 18 people.
“The first (traditional media) was the only way to reach our fans, nor, in the last five years or maybe 10 years, is that no longer the case,” Djokovic said.
“We have our own platforms, social media accounts and through them we are able to communicate directly with fans.
“Naomi is very young and obviously grew up with social media and the ability to talk through her channels.”
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