Former world No. 7 and current TV analyst Daniela Hantuchová recently weighed in on Naomi Osaka and the issue of press conferences.
In an interview with Tennis365, Hantuchová stated, “Press conferences are part of the job, that is why we are called professional athletes.”
Back in May, tennis champion Osaka made headlines when she withdrew from the French Open, citing her mental health as the primary reason. As per Osaka, interviews with the media post-match could sometimes be detrimental and emotionally stressful.
For Hantuchová, however, press conferences aren’t something you can pick and choose to do. “When you enter a tournament, it’s like saying I will play but only if my opponent plays to my backhand. Or I don’t feel like serving today, so I’m just going to return,” she explained.
“It’s a little bit disrespectful to the tournaments, I would say, especially these days when we know how much it takes to run any event after what has happened the last two years.”
She went on to say that the least a professional athlete could do is show up to a press conference, as it isn’t “rocket science” to talk for an hour about what you love.
Her advice to prevent pressure would simply be to take time off social media. “All the players have so many things to deal with off the court and it is just part of life.”
“If you need,” she continued, “I personally wouldn’t share that with the world, but if you do, I would seek professional help and maybe go away from the tour and the sport for a little bit to get some perspective and appreciation again.”
Though the 38-year-old did say that Osaka’s situation is a bit more difficult. “The spotlight she (Osaka) has got on her cannot be easy.”
Despite this, she still affirmed the importance of press conferences, as it gives a spotlight to tennis stars. “Without the media, we wouldn’t be earning that amount of money, it’s as simple as that.”