US tennis legend Venus Williams has revealed why she has no problem doing media interviews in light of Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from Roland Garros.
After going down to Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-1 in the first round in her 89th Grand Slam, Williams was asked about Osaka’s belief that post-match media inquests were harmful to her mental health and was akin to “kicking a person when they’re down”.
Williams, 40, said she had her own way with dealing with the media.
“For me personally, how I deal with it was that I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will,” she said.
Osaka withdraws from Roland Garros
“So no matter what you say or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me.
“That’s how I deal with it. But each person deals with it differently.”
Williams’ response drew praise online from fans and members of the media.
TV presenter Nicky Crosby wrote: “I can’t love this anymore from Venus Williams. What a BURN!!”
Sports writer Liz Roscher tweeted: “Venus is a legend, now and forever.”
The Tennis Podcast tweeted: “As the name suggests, she’s otherworldly,”
Osaka said her mental health issues started in 2018 when she won the 2018 US Open in a controversial final against Serena Williams. The moment she had worked so hard for was littered with boos after her opponent was involved in a confrontation with the umpire.
Serena sympathised with Osaka and agreed that dealing with the press had been “very difficult” for her during her own career.
“The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like,” the 39-year-old said after her first-round win.
“We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin.
“Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to…
“I’ve been where I’ve been very difficult to walk in (to press conferences) in those moments. But, you know, it made me stronger.”
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