Naomi Osaka is one of the most successful athletes in the world.
However, lately, she’s faced criticism from some people who feel uncomfortable with the young star being photographed without a racket in her hand.
In a brand new interview with Women’s Health, Osaka says she knows she’s destined for great things off the tennis court.
“Now more than ever I see that you can be more than just one thing,” she tells the publication. “More than just someone who plays tennis.”
Osaka faced harsh backlash from the media, who chastised her for her decision to step away from tournament press events.
“We live in a world where people are so quick to speak and to comment,” says Naomi. “Silence is almost uncomfortable.”
She admits that she has shunned media training… But the reason is admirable.
“I never wanted media training,” she says. “Because I didn’t want to change my personality to offer a canned response that didn’t feel like me. Yes, some people may find my personality different, just as they do my mixed-race background, but I find it to be the thing that makes me uniquely myself.”
While many didn’t understand her decision to bypass media — her point was made last week when a reporter aggressively fired questions at her during a news conference, bringing Osaka to tears.
Osaka’s agent Stuart Duguid issued the following statement to The New York Times:
“The bully at the Cincinnati Enquirer is the epitome of why player / media relations are so fraught right now. Everyone on that Zoom will agree that his tone was all wrong and his sole purpose was to intimidate. Really appalling behavior,” the statement reads. “And this insinuation that Naomi owes her off court success to the media is a myth – don’t be so self-indulgent.”