Novak Djokovic expressed sympathy for Naomi Osaka and stated the importance of Osaka to the sport of tennis.
He also demonstrated empathy for Osaka and an open-minded view of what she is currently going through, as a member of a younger generation.
He talked about the desire for younger athletes to use their own social media channels to communicate with the public, rather than go through the media. “It’s part of what we do,” he said. “The media is important, without a doubt. You know, it’s allowing us to have the platform to communicate with our fans, but in a more traditional way. It used to be the only way how we can reach out to our fans, right, in the last five years or maybe ten years’s it’s not the case anymore. We have our own platforms, our own social media accounts through which we are able to communicate directly with fans.”
A new statement from the four Grand Slams in the wake of Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open: pic.twitter.com/7gVNubz6mj
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 1, 2021
At the heart of the matter is Djokovic’s sympathy and respect for Osaka.
“I support her. I think she was very brave to do that,” Djokovic said. “I’m really sorry that she is going through painful times and suffering mentally, is what I have heard. I haven’t spoken to her. But it seems like she has been struggling. I wish her all the best. I hope she recovers. She’s very important player and brand for and person for our sport.”
“So we need to have her back. This was, I must say, very bold decision from her side. But she knows how she feels best. If she needs to take time and reflect and just recharge, you know, that’s what she needed to do, and I respect it fully. I hope that she’ll come back stronger.”