Naomi Osaka’s sister has attempted to explain the world No.2’s media boycott, before deleting her comments and admitting she “f—ed up” and “made the situation worse”.
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All four grand slams have now threatened further action – including defaulting her from the tournament – should she continue.
The reigning Australian Open champion announced last week she would not speak to the media, citing mental health concerns.
In a Reddit post, since deleted, Mari Osaka tried to provide some context to the ban.
Roland Garros a ‘work in progress’ for Osaka
“She sucks at explaining her actions most of the time and she’s playing a grand slam, so there’s even less of a chance she will take her time to dwell and explain something that she doesn’t want to even think about,” Mari wrote.
“Naomi mentioned to me before the tournament that a family member had come up to her and remarked that she’s bad at clay,” she wrote.
“At every press conference she’s told she has a bad record on clay. When she lost in Rome r1 (Round 1) she was not ok mentally. Her confidence was completely shattered and I think that everyone’s remarks and opinions have gotten to her head and she herself believed that she was bad on clay.
“This isn’t true and she knows that in order to do well and have a shot at winning Roland Garros she will have to believe that she can. That’s the first step any athlete needs to do, believe in themselves.”
The loss in Rome, to Jessica Pegula, meant Osaka went into Roland-Garros having won just one clay-court match this season, over the relatively lowly ranked Misaki Doi in Mardrid.
Much of the commentary around Osaka’s clay-court struggles stem from the fact she’s never seriously contended in Paris, having not passed the third round in four appearances, while she’s never beaten a top-20 player on clay during her career.
Following her first round win over 63rd-ranked Patricia Maria Tig in Paris, Osaka did a brief on-court interview with former player Fabrice Santoro, but refused to attend the mandatory media conference.
“Her solution was to block everything out. No talking to people who is going to put doubt in her mind,” Mari wrote.
“She’s protecting her mind hence why it’s called mental health. So many people are picky on this term thinking you need to have depression or have some sort of disorder to be able to use the term mental health.
“I don’t know what she is going to do in the future when the tournament pushes back and threatens to default her but I fully support my sister’s actions because she’s just trying to do what’s best for her.
“Tennis players don’t get paid to do press conferences. They only get paid when they win matches.”
Mari then deleted the original post, with a second post apologising to her sister for making the situation worse.
“Ok so I f—ed up,” she wrote.
“My words are coming across so horribly to a lot of people who think taking care of mental health is strategic. I didn’t emphasise the fact that Naomi is dealing with a ton of shit and honestly fighting for the care of mental health in my post so now a lot of people are taking it as “She doesn’t want to hear critisim” [sic]
“I’m sorry Naomi I probably made the situation worse.”
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