'We need a revolution' – Federer supports Osaka; says players need help with press

'We need a revolution' – Federer supports Osaka; says players need help with press

Roger Federer has called for a “revolution” in how tennis and the media work together in order to relieve stress on players on the tour.

Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open earlier this year after saying she would not do press conferences to protect her mental health.

She was fined by the Grand Slam organisers for not doing post-match media after her opening round win and withdrew from the tournament the next day.

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Britain’s US Open winner Emma Raducanu, 18, was the subject of criticism from some sections of the press after withdrawing from her fourth round match in her maiden Wimbledon appearance with breathing difficulties.

Federer believes tennis needs to do more to help the game’s young stars, such as Osaka and Raducanu, deal with negativity from all forms of media.

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He told GQ Magazine: “I was following Emma Raducanu’s incredible run in Wimbledon and also Naomi Osaka these last few years – it’s been amazing, both of their stories.

“But it hurts when you see what happens and when they don’t feel well. The stress is so great.

“I think a lot has to be down to social media: the first 10 years of my life there was no social media, maybe I had just a website, then the next 10 years social media was everywhere.

“Also, in regards to this, the press situation does need to be reconsidered.

“I think I’m one of the athletes who’s done the most press – ever! And I agree that it’s always the same. Always.

“I think players, the tournaments, journalists, we need to sit down together in a room and go ‘OK, what would work for you and what works for us’.

We need a revolution.

“Or at least an evolution of where we are today. I think we do need to help, coach and mentor the younger generation more.

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“I can’t imagine going through the beginning of my career with social media; I have no clue how I would have handled it. For every 10 nice comments there’s always one negative comment and, of course, that is the one you focus on.

“It’s a horrible situation. Even when I am feeling down I know I need to act a certain way in front of the world’s press.

“We need to remember that tennis players are athletes and professionals, but we are also human too.”

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