Just a month after introverted Naomi Osaka made explosive headlines around the world by withdrawing from the French Open in the wake of her refusal to attend a mandatory post match press conference to protect her emotional and mental health she has broken her media blackout to publicise a photo shoot for the August issue of Vogue Magazine Japan.
The 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam winner, who’s off court endorsement earnings last year raked in US$55.2 million, far outstripping her on court winnings of US$5.2 million, shared the news with her 2.4 million Instagram followers saying ‘Hi guys. Popping out to post this Vogue Japan cover, hope you’re all doing well and staying safe.”
In her last social media message on May 31, the highest paid female athlete in the world wrote: ‘I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.’
After just one match at Roland Garros Osaka flew back to her $7million Los Angeles mansion, and withdrew from Wimbledon.
Her action was met with mixed reactions from many of her contemporaries, criticising her for neglecting her duties while others commended her decision.
Rafael Nadal said that although he shared some sympathy for Osaka, the media was an essential part of the job.
However former Wimbledon champion Boris Becker was much more critical, saying stars “can’t have half the cake” and that Osaka’s career might be in jeopardy.
He added ‘If she can’t cope with the media in Paris, she can’t cope with the media at Wimbledon, she can’t cope with the media at the US Open.’
In the glamour shoot, the former world number one was sporting luxury Louis Vuitton clothes and Nike sportswear, one of her brand sponsors.
Her post drew support from celebrity fans Venus Williams, Nicky Minaj , Gael Monfils and rapper Saweetie.