Naomi Osaka's treatment has been "disgusting" Jermaine Jenas tells LBC

1 June 2021, 10:26 | Updated: 1 June 2021, 10:52

By Daisy Stephens

Football pundit Jermaine Jenas told Nick Ferrari on LBC today that he thought the treatment of Naomi Osaka has been “disgusting” after she pulled out of doing interviews for mental health reasons.

Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open amid a row over media obligations
Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open amid a row over media obligations. Picture: Getty

When asked whether Ms Osaka should have to do broadcast interviews, former Spurs and England player Jermaine said: “I don’t think so, no. I don’t see why.”

He said she should be allowed to just “go out there and play tennis”.

He went on to say that many footballers never give broadcast interviews, citing Paul Scholes who rarely did any post-match interviews at all.

“She just wants to go out there and play tennis," he said.

“Yes, she has her issues with the press. But she’s voiced those concerns with regards to her own mental health and therefore should be more than happy and allowed to go and just play the sport that she loves.

“I think it’s disgusting.”

Ms Osaka pulled out of the French Open because she refused to take part in in press conferences, something that she received a hefty fine for the previous day.

She says that press conferences make her extremely anxious.

In a statement, she said: “Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I want to apologise to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world's media.

“I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can.

“So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences.

“I announced it pre-emptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.”