Opinion and Editorial

KT edit: Osaka should grow up and deal with fame

Filed on May 31, 2021

She is not alone when it comes to playing mind games.

Someone tell Naomi Osaka that she’s being difficult off the tennis court, and all for the convoluted ‘idea’ of change. Simply salivating about the idea without changing her attitude to the sport, spectators and the media won’t win her friends and fans when there are other pressing concerns the world has to address, like the pandemic. The tennis player, in a rather profound tweet, which went like this, said: “Anger is lack of understanding. Change makes people uncomfortable.’’ Profound, yet pathetic. Celebrity tennis players like her realise that fielding questions from the Press is part of the deal. It’s never an easy task but she signed up for it! And after earning $55 million a year, more than any woman tennis player, for her efforts on court and through endorsements, she has little reason to complain, one would think.

Yet, she does, and expects us to understand, for the sake of her mental health. She is not alone when it comes to playing mind games. Others have done it too, but it helps being a star player, for she hopes she will be forgiven, and post-pandemic history will judge her well. Keeping her head during the pandemic when others are losing theirs to the crisis, though Kiplingesque, is also selfish. Perhaps she craves for some extra attention as the coronavirus has turned player-in-chief and is upending lives. Naomi is lucky to be even playing during the pandemic – money works like a charm and a little change goes a long way, you see. If she intends to score a point off court for a cause, she is wrong. She is at fault; a double-fault at that, and French Open oragnisers were right in penalising her for her refusal to speak to the media after her a tough match.

They saw it coming after she had made her intentions clear at the start of the tournament and has stuck to her stand thus far. Social media is divided. Naturally. What else can one expect when controversy and polemic are the order of the day. The latest controversy’s child is, meanwhile, soaking in the attention with her shocking display of tantrums. But $15,000 in fines is nothing for the player who won praise and sympathy for holding her nerve during a final against a hysteric, spoilt Serena Williams, to take the US Open title three years ago before a partisan crowd. Naomi stole our hearts then. She’s now intent on wrecking it without remorse. Sadly, she has changed, nay transformed into someone she hadn’t planned on becoming — a less loved tennis star. Perhaps she needs to hire a new PR team to change her perspective of the media as scrutiny of her life and game will only get intense after her no-show at pressers after matches.

Thankfully, better sense prevailed with her withdrawal from the French Open.

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