MIKE DICKSON: I sympathise with Naomi Osaka’s plight, but talking is part of the deal – nobody is bigger than the game and the Grand Slams are right to reassert that principle
- Sharing your thoughts is a key part of the grand bargain of professional sports
- There is a reason every player who reaches the main singles draw gets £50,000
- The four Grand Slams have shown an unusual display of strength and solidarity
There is a reason why everyone who makes it into the singles main draw of the French Open takes home a minimum of £50,000.
It is part of professional sport’s grand bargain, whereby rights-holders and sponsors spend large amounts to be associated with a major international event.
Sharing your thoughts is a piece of that transaction, and every player signs up to it.
Naomi Osaka has boycotted press at the French Open – but ultimately talking is part of the deal
The world No 2 beat Patricia Tig 6-4, 7-6 in her first-round match at Roland Garros on Sunday
The four Grand Slams understand this very well which is why, in an unusual display of strength and solidarity, they have moved to threaten Naomi Osaka with a ban from their tournaments.
Of course there should be sympathy for anyone struggling with their mental health. After a shattering year there will be plenty within tennis, and many millions far beyond its narrow confines, who have been badly affected in different ways.
The message here, from within one sport’s parish, is a simple one: nobody is bigger than the game. The Grand Slams are right to deliver that.
Osaka released a statement earlier this week saying she would boycott the press at the French Open, citing mental health concerns as the reason behind her decision to do so
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