A shocking question for American teenager Coco Gauff at the French Open has left many tennis fans convinced by Naomi Osaka's controversial press conference boycott.
Osaka made headlines at the grand slam tournament after revealing she would refuse to carry out any media obligations, claiming news conferences are detrimental to her mental health.
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She likened traditional post-match inquests to "kicking people when they're down".
The Japanese superstar's stance has polarised the tennis world, with many fans and players arguing that press conferences are a necessary and obligatory part of the sport.
However, others have pointed to an eye-opening press conference with 17-year-old Gauff, as proof that Osaka's concerns are justified.
The American teen sensation - who begins her Roland Garros campaign against World no. 212 Aleksandra Krunic on Tuesday - was asked by a journalist about being compared to fellow Americans, Serena and Venus Williams - the latter of whom she is partnering in the doubles.
“You are often compared to the Williams sisters. Maybe it’s because you’re black. But I guess it’s because you’re talented and maybe American too," the reporter started off by saying.
"We could have a final between you and Serena. Is it something you hope for? I mean, 22 years separate you girls.”
The bizarre question was roundly condemned by fans on social media.
This was a question posed to 17 year old Coco Gauff. This is why Naomi Osaka told everyone to shove it when it comes to doing press. https://t.co/XOIgobI0Gr
— Punky Brewster's BFF (@MsBrooke_Lynn) May 28, 2021
Coco Gauff gave an excellent and very mature answer to this terrible question but on a wider scale this is the latest in a long list of terrible questions asked that is proving the point Osaka makes when she boycotts press conferences. https://t.co/YZWihZzmez
— Dean O'Mahoney (@DeanoGPT) May 28, 2021
To her credit, Gauff gave a brilliant response to what many considered to be a shocking question.
"Playing Serena in the final would be great (smiling). That’s the dream that I have always dreamed about, playing her in a final," Gauff said.
"But yeah, I mean, people compare me to them a lot, and I think it’s a compliment, but for me I just focus on being myself because I’m never going to be Serena Williams and Serena will never be me because we are two different people.
We have two different brains. I understand why people compare us, but I think it’s just important that I want to be known as Coco. I don’t want to be known as Serena Williams’ heir, or Serena Williams’ next thing. I just want to be known as Coco Gauff.”
Osaka boycott divides tennis world
The American's press conference shines a light back on the concerns of Osaka, who has been fined $15,000 for missing her first French Open press conference and threatened with being kicked out of the tournament if she continues to do so.
The World No.2 was sanctioned on Sunday after refusing to hold a press conference after her opening round 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Romanian World No.63 Patricia Maria Tig.
"We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations, she would be exposing herself to possible further code of conduct infringement consequences," said a statement from the four Grand Slam tournaments on Sunday after she was issued with the $15,000 fine.
"As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions."
French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton had previously described Osaka's vow of silence as "a phenomenal error" and "not acceptable".
The four Grand Slam events - the French Open, Wimbledon, Australian Open and US Open - said they had written to Osaka "to check on her well-being and offer support".
"She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players," the statement added.
"Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine."
Following her win on Sunday, Osaka agreed only to an on-court TV interview.
"For me, playing on clay is a work in progress," said the reigning US and Australian Open champion.
"Hopefully the more I play, the better I will become."
Later on Sunday she tweeted: "Anger is a lack of understanding. Change makes people uncomfortable."
anger is a lack of understanding. change makes people uncomfortable.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 30, 2021
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