Press-wary Hillary Clinton on Wednesday came to the defense of tennis star Naomi Osaka of Japan amid a flap over the athlete’s refusal to attend a news conference after her first-round victory at the 2021 French Open.
“I’m inspired by Naomi Osaka’s courage,” Clinton tweeted. “This is a moment for all of us — especially the press — to ask why it’s not enough to let her stellar performance on the court speak for itself.”
The second-seeded Osaka was slapped with a $15,000 fine and threat of expulsion from the French Open on Sunday after she refused to attend a news conference following her first-round win at Roland Garros — making good on a May 26 promise to boycott news conferences.
Osaka later revealed on social media she’s suffered bouts of depression since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018.
Tennis players are required to attend news conferences if requested to do so; Grand Slam rules allow fines up to $20,000 if they don't show up.
On Monday, Osaka said in a statement she’d withdraw from the Open so that "everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris," adding that she would "take some time away from the court,” CNN reported.
Then on Tuesday, the leaders of the four Grand Slam tournaments released a statement offering their support to Osaka — though they didn't apologize for the fine. The heads of the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open said they would offer "support and assistance" to Osaka while continuing to "improve the player experience at our tournaments."
Clinton herself was taunted in 2016 by Donald Trump ahead of his November election.
"So, it's been 235 days since crooked Hillary Clinton has had a press conference," Trump told reporters and supporters who gathered in Miami on July 27, it was reported at the time.
“You, as reporters who give her all of these glowing reports, should ask yourselves why."
NPR reported that as first lady of Arkansas and of the United States, Hillary Clinton felt badly treated by the press during coverage of scandals and setbacks.
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