Victoria Azarenka has injected a dose of rational thinking and good sense into the Naomi Osaka Roland Garros boilover, with the former No. 1 suggesting that media and players actually need each other.
The double Grand Slam champion joined the chorus of competitors who know that fronting the media post-match is all a part of the sport’s ecosystem, despite what WTA No. 2 Osaka might believe.
The 23-year-old who won her opening match on Sunday at the French Open and then copped a $US 15k fine for failing to take questions post-victory, has vowed to skip all media during the clay fortnight.
In a rare show of solidarity, the four Grand Slams said she would not only be fined heavily for each infraction, but added that the Japanese-Haitian player also risked disqualification from the tournament and other, heavier sanctions.
Osaka posted on social media last week that she would avoid media to preserve her “mental health.”
Azarenka is apparently not buying in. “I believe that press and players and the tournaments come hand in hand,” the 31-year-old told media after her own weekend win into the second round in Paris.
“We are helping you guys; you guys are helping us. It’s very important in developing our sport, in promoting our sport. I always appreciate that.
“But I will say that it’s not easy sometimes to be on this side. If we all take a bit of responsibility like doing our best to show up and give you honest
answers – the same from you guys, have a little bit of compassion (for) what we are going through…
“It’s really important to have that balance from both sides.”
The Florida-based mother of one added: “We are all humans, we go through a lot of emotions, and I really hope that we understand better.
“Releasing your medical information… something like this can be a bit private where it’s very sensitive. People need to realise that you’re opening up to
the whole world and it’s not easy.”