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Playing journalism is part of the sport, Djokovic says, with controversy raging in Osaka


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Image from the file: Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 15, 2021 Serbian Novak Djokovic during his semi-final match against Italian Lorenzo Sonigo Reuters / Guglielmo Mangiapani

MELBOURNE – World number one Novak Djokovic said confronting the media may be “very unpleasant” but it is part of tennis, as debate continued on Friday over Naomi Osaka’s decision to boycott press conferences at the French Open.

World number two Osaka stunned the tennis world when she announced that she would not hold any press conferences in the Grand Slam to protect her mental health, prompting criticism from French Tennis Federation President Gilles Moreton.

Djokovic said Osaka “may (have) had her reasons,” but she disagreed with the four-time Grand Slam champion’s decision.

“I understand that press conferences sometimes can be very unpleasant,” Djokovic told reporters after beating Federico Correa 6-1 6-0 to reach the Belgrade Open semi-finals on Thursday.

“And that’s not something you always enjoy, you know, especially if you lose a match or something.

“But it is part of the sport and part of your life on the tour. This is something we have to do, otherwise we will be fined.

“I mean, at least this is the case on the part of men. I don’t know about the rules for women. So that’s all I can say.”

According to Grand Slam rules, players must attend post-match media conferences within 30 minutes of the match ending or face fines of up to $ 20,000 unless injured or physically unable to show up.

Serbian Djokovic fell in violation of the rule, and received a fine of $ 7,500 for skipping the media after being excluded from the 2019 US Open. Hit the ball In the shaved judge line.

Sam Groth, a retired Australian-turned-media professional, said Osaka Prefecture was a “slap in the face” for the sport, and said isolating journalists while continuing to participate on social media was “hypocrisy”.

“Certified members of the media are attending the media conferences, many of whom have established meaningful collaborations with the players,” he wrote in a column in the Melbourne Sun Herald on Friday.

“Social media platforms are an endless void of trolls and bots who are not accountable to anyone and have few fitness policies.”

Osaka was supported by British tennis player and BBC commentator Naomi Brody, who said officials could consider amending the rules for mandatory media conferences.

She said, “If it has been longer after that big loss, so you can compose yourself, digest and shout out of the spotlight …”.

“If it’s on an occasion where you’re feeling really upset, it’s hard to have to do it quickly because of the rules.”

He also supported former world-ranked doubles player Rina Stubbs, ESPN commentator, Osaka, tweeting that it was a “wonderful moment” for the media to hear from the players and understand “how hard it is for so many of them”.

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