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Boris Becker: Naomi Osaka’s career ‘in danger’

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Six-time grand slam champion Boris Becker said Tuesday that Naomi Osaka’s career is “in danger” if she’s unable to cope with the stress that comes with playing competitive tennis and dealing with the media.

Becker made the comments in an interview with Eurosport, a day after Osaka withdrew from the French Open, citing mental health issues that were ignited by her decision to skip media obligations.

“Sadly, I heard her first response a couple of days ago about this media boycott and she cited mental health issues — that’s something always to be taken seriously, especially from such a young woman,” Becker told Eurosport.

Osaka won her first-round match in Paris but was fined $15,000 for skipping the post-match news conference. She hadn’t met with the media in the lead-up to the tournament either.

“She couldn’t cope with the pressures of facing the media, especially after she loses a match … that happens frequently and you have to deal with it,” Becker said.

“That raises much bigger questions for me because if she can’t cope with the media in Paris, she can’t cope with the media in Wimbledon, she can’t cope with the media at the U.S. Open.

“So I almost feel like her career is in danger because of mental health issues and now that we should take very seriously.”

Osaka earned $55.2 million this past year alone, with $50 million of that coming off the court in endorsements and other marketing ventures, Sportico reported last week. She ranked No. 15 in Sportico’s list of the world’s highest-paid athletes. She was won seven career titles, including four grand slam titles.

Becker said he “hated the media” during his playing days but said it was obligatory.

“Without the media, there isn’t any prize money, there isn’t any contracts and just you don’t get half the cake.”

–Field Level Media

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