Tennis legend Boris Becker has taken a brazen swipe at World No.2 Naomi Osaka after she opted to miss Wimbledon and take a break from tennis for her mental health.
World No.2 Osaka is currently taking a break from the sport on mental health grounds, after sensationally withdrawing from the French Open at the end of last month.
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The Japanese star created a storm after refusing to participate in tennis' obligatory press conferences at Roland Garros, prompting a fine from tournament organisers and the threat of being banned from future tournaments if she continued to do so.
In explaining her media boycott, Osaka said the line of questioning she often fielded from the world's media was detrimental to her mental health.
She since withdrew from Roland Garros and won't take part at Wimbledon, before opting to travel to the Olympics.
But tennis legend Boris Becker has hit out at Osaka's stance.
Becker believes it is part of every professional tennis player's "job" to front the media.
The German claimed the ATP and WTA Tour would thrive without the press conferences and they were important to the sport.
“It’s not something we look forward to. But it’s part of the job. You have to learn to deal with it," he told UK publication The Times.
Boris Becker slams Naomi Osaka in brazen dig
The six-time Grand Slam winner became more brazen when he slammed Osaka's view of 'pressure'.
Osaka said pressure from the media and difficulties surrounding her mental health as her reason for taking a break from tennis.
But, Becker questioned Osaka's mindset and said there were far worse situations.
“Is that really pressure? Isn’t it pressure when you don’t have food on the table?" When you’ve got to feed your family and you don’t have a job? When you have a life-changing injury? Isn’t that more pressure?" he said.
“You’re 23, you’re healthy, you’re wealthy, your family is good. Where is the f**king pressure?”
Despite her break from Wimbledon, Osaka is planning on attending a home Olympic Games in Tokyo.
It should come as a relief to the Japanese star then that Olympic Games competitors won't be required to attend press conferences by organisers.
Unlike the Olympic Games, grand slam tournaments can issue fines of up to $20,000 for players refusing to attend press conferences.
Repeat violations can even result in suspension or possible expulsion from tournaments.
But the International Olympic Committee released a statement reading: “The IOC has never obliged athletes to hold a press conference.”
The Japanese Olympic Committee, which has the say over media requirements of Japanese athletes, also confirmed that Osaka would not face sanction if she continued her media boycott.
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