Tennis pressers, sovereign athletes, and a changing power balance
Your comments re the shifting balance of power between the press and touring pros is interesting and spot on in so many ways. At the same time one has to wonder how much press conferences were ever meant to be for the benefit of athletes (tennis or not) such that they can take that benefit back into their own control. However much the construct is broken, or at least poorly run, the intention is that it serve to the benefit of the sport which is, after all, what was the means for Osaka to earn $55M last year.
Osaka's complaint is tone deaf, far more whinging than what she frames it as, a response to bullying; it's nigh impossible to feel sympathy for someone earning what she does who believes press conferences (been part of the job for a long time) are tough and she should be protected from anyone "doubting" her. Couching it as a mental health issue doesn't make it better, as it implies that disagreeing with her means one is not *for* mental health, which of course is just silly.
I agree with Naomi Osaka that the tennis press conferences are broken but the sport needs fans and fans do want some commentary from the players on the matches. It would have been nice if Osaka had said that in lieu of the press conference she'd post a short video with her thoughts on the match. Maybe have it as a conversation with her coach. She'd make her point better that way and look (and be) less selfish.
Thanks, excellent analysis. Many players have brilliant individual takes as they know the game inside out and are interesting personalities. It's when the press decide to bait players until they say something for a gotcher headline that the tragedies begin. Overheard often in Kyrgios pressers, I'm just waiting for him to say something really stupid and I'll be right with you. So he does, just to get rid of them. If they listened to the entire presser there is always a lot of brilliant and insightful stuff but far too many sports media only seem to have their eye on the shock horror headline. They do this to a lot of players at slams. If they've got any sense they pretend they can't speak English. Lucky if they really can't because other countries are interested in sport, not cutting young players up when they've just lost an important match.