Broken in tears, Naomi Osaka was once again vulnerable and sensitive to the media on her return to competition. The Japanese will debut in the Cincinatti tournament next Monday, but she attended to the press this Monday, after the first training sessions. With the public, in addition, a whole novelty in times of pandemic that she thanked while admitting to having started to rally with a little “fear” when she shared the stage for the first time with spectators after the outbreak of the covid. After a few questions, the athlete, sweet and friendly at all times, fell apart after explaining how she feels when she realizes that everything she does or says can end up in a newspaper, published on social networks or turned into a televised debate .
A local journalist pointed out her little devotion to the press while she, as a public figure, takes advantage of the projection that the media gives her for other interests. “I can’t speak for others, I do it for myself. But since I was very young I have always aroused a lot of interest in the media, because of my background, how I play, in the end I am a tennis player. There are things that I say or tweet that generate a lot of new articles because I won a couple of grand slam and because I do a lot of press conferences, and that’s the way things go. But I really don’t know how to manage it, I’m working on it ”, he confessed.
And although she answered very whole, it broke just when she finished. She looked up trying to hold back the tears. But it was in vain. He covered himself with the brim of his cap, tried to compose himself to answer the next question, but could not. A journalist asked her at that time about her preparation and how she was living the news that came from Haiti, especially moving for her given that her father is Haitian. Osaka couldn’t go on. The press conference stopped for a few moments and the athlete returned somewhat more whole after a five-minute break.
And he replied: “Regarding Haiti, I have the feeling that I can do more than I do. That is why I am looking at how to help, in what way is better to do it. Donating the prize money from this tournament is the first thing I thought of. For that, I have to win the tournament. That’s why I said it. The bad thing is that I watch the news every day and it is really terrible ”, he assumed. The winner of the tournament in Cincinatti will get $ 255,220 (about € 216,839), the runner-up, $ 188,945 (€ 160,504) and the semifinalists, $ 100,250 (€ 85,160).
Osaka is one of the best tennis players in the world. Number three in the WTA ranking, the Japanese came to Cincinnati after hers was one of the proper names of the Olympic Games. Months before he had withdrawn from the game after leaving Paris forced by the organization after refusing to speak to the media; In addition, she was the athlete with the greatest projection in the host country of the Olympic Games and she was also the athlete who would light the Tokyo 2020 cauldron. Her participation in the tennis tournament did not go for much. She fell in the third round to China’s Saisai Zheng. “I had been waiting for these Games for almost eight years, because I could not be in Rio. And I had the feeling that since then everyone was talking to me about Tokyo. I feel a little sad about how I was eliminated, but also happy that I did not fall in the first round, “she explained from Ohio City.
Cincinatti’s will be her return to competition tournament, and the first time she has re-enrolled in a women’s tour open after leaving Roland Garros in May and then giving up Wimbledon due to a mental health problem. Overexposure takes its toll on many athletes and Osaka is one of those who has raised her voice this year, along with Simone Biles, who followed her example at the Tokyo Games, where everyone looked at her with a magnifying glass and expected her to become the best gymnast of all time. It could not be. He barely managed to compete in the bar final. It took a bronze after being the great absentee of the final by equipment and of the combined. But he smiled.
Asked about it as soon as she set foot in the Cincinnati press room, Osaka opened up. “At that time [sobre Roland Garros] Not that I was proud, but it was something I felt I had to do. For me. I stayed home for a couple of weeks, I was embarrassed to go out. I knew that people would look at me differently than they did before. But what opened my eyes was to go to the Games and see how other athletes would come and tell me that they were super happy that I had done what I did. After that I do feel proud of what I did and I think it was something that had to be done ”. The tennis player, he explained, wrote to Simone Biles, but did not want to bother her anymore. “I wanted to give him his space, because I know how overwhelming it can be.”
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