French Open 2021 🎾

irony in this is that the people in tennis who are consistently in most need of public and press scrutiny are the tournament organisers and federation presidents who never have to face it themselves

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Osaka should be lauded for taking a stand. I hope she has good support and can come back soon.
The reaction by the federation and organisers has been disgusting. As Marmitedanish pointed out the other day: what would their reaction have been if it was a male player? Would their bullying tactics have been the same? Difficult to say but I somehow doubt it.

Can only hope that the whole debacle has a positive impact for the future

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they grow the game’s coverage because they throw up the occasional sensational quote which journos write articles around which then become news stories. these quotes are often taken out of their full context though, e.g. Barty and Swiatek giving fairly thoughtful responses to Osaka’s statement, which were then stripped of context and used to pit them against her. like i said above i think the press conferences do bring some value but there are so many practices that need to change.

these problems aren’t exclusive to tennis but i think the format of tennis press conferences (player on their own in front of a large group of journalists immediately after every match) is more challenging than in other sports

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Zombie Deadspin is a travesty and should be avoided at all costs, decent writers will refuse to work there so all of their staff are massive gits.

It’s definitely more challenging, in a team sport you can send the captain, coach, or whoever is nominated to be a spokesperson after, say, a hard loss, who’s more prepared to deal with it than a younger or more fragile player in the moment. No such option with tennis.

It’s very sad that it’s had to come to Osaka pulling out of the tournament, and I wish her and her team the best in finding the help she needs and dealing with what she’s going through right now. Shouldn’t have had to come to admitting to ongoing depression since 2018. That said, I still feel it was a bad idea to have come out with a swing at changing long-established rules and what looked like trying to speak on behalf of all the players. Something that combative was going to get the tournament’s heckles up (a pity all the grand slam institutions can’t rally that quickly around a policy on domestic violence/criminality accusations) and force their hand. But of course they’ve overreacted.

Something like “I’m really struggling with anxiety at the moment, and the press conferences are making it worse. I want to play the tournament and and willing to accept whatever fines I am given in order to do so”, without all the more institutional stuff; I can’t say for sure but think the FO would have been more sympathetic, tried to meet her halfway and work something out constructively. She’s an asset to the game, and has leverage - just not enough to make what she first posted go off without a hitch.

maybe it wasn’t the best execution but i really admire that she used it as an opportunity to challenge the rules rather than focus on herself tbh, and i still hope something good comes out of that

at the time i thought she should’ve had someone proofread the statement to make it clearer what her aims were but in retrospect she probably wasn’t in the frame of mind to do that

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I think likely race has as much to do with it. A blonde, blue-eyed female player would likely get a lot more leeway. A male player at the same level…It’s hard to say because a male player admitting to the pressures of MH feels like a very unlikely thing in itself so yeah, there’s definitely a chance that this would be taken up as significant in the field of men opening up, etc. and a different response. But equally I can see them being as awful.

(As a side point, I feel like visible non-white male tennis stars are rare. But maybe it’s true of women too in the main and the exceptionalism of the Williams sisters and now Osaka have skewed my perception more? I certainly think of tennis as a sport where the rich and monied dominate the upper echelons and that tends to favour white people. )

it definitely is.
the legacy of the Williams sisters is v evident in the number of black American women on tour compared to a generation ago though. Gauff, Stephens, Keys, Townsend, Osaka also grew up in the US

12 black American women in the last USO draw

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sorry to be all hoogy but Mardy Fish (great name) has spoken at length about his struggles with anxiety

Thiem also mentioned recently that he’s been struggling with his MH

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Oh no, Hoogy away. I wonder how a male star doing this would be treated then? Yeah probably @AcceptanceIII is right and they’d work around it (definitely assuming they were in the top 3 seeding, because I feel like they might through small fry to the wolves regardless).

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I see what you’re saying, but I think the problem here is with the tournament’s attitude rather than Osaka’s wording - and as @shrewbie said I think it was a good opp to question the overall institution.

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Blocking every Twitter account posting variants “Well ackshully she signed a contract…” in reply to news of this has been quite cathartic.

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For me the root cause of all the problems of this incident is simply the failure/lack of proper safeguarding procedures. Osaka clearly has vulnerabilities not related to her tennis playing, and has found herself (and to her credit has also put herself) in situations where they might be exposed. And quite simply the tennis authorities have a duty to prevent that happening. They didn’t in this case and so we are where we are. It’s down to them.

Like @BodyInTheThames pointed out above though it is also necessary to take into account that the bulk of these players’ incomes and the prosperity of their sport hinges on whopping commercial endorsements, so the solution can’t be simply “just let them get on with what they’re good at”. The piper has to be paid somehow. But it can’t be beyond the imaginations of reasonably intelligent people to come up with a solution to that that doesn’t throw people under the bus.

I really hope she finds a happier space soon. She’s got the potential to do lots more good things on and off the court and it would be a crying shame if stuff like this drives her away.

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Watching Struff v Rublev right now just reminds me how little tennis I’ve watched recently. I know nothing about either of these guys really.

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I get that sometimes, Struff’s been around for ages but not sure i’ve ever watched him

comforting that a Kohlschreiber - Verdasco slam match is taking place in 2021 though

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And Federer v Cilic in round 2!

Yeah Struff is just the ultimate background name isn’t he. Steady 40-100 ranking for years.

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Looks like Barty might be in a spot of bother.

Well that petered out fast.

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Good mask game

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Nice job Gael.