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Democracy Now!

Does Tennis Care About Players? Naomi Osaka Quits French Open After Mental Health Plea Ignored

Athletes around the globe are voicing support for tennis superstar Naomi Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open after being fined and threatened with disqualification for declining to take part in press conferences due to their effect on her mental health. Prominent athletes, from Stephen Curry to Serena Williams, have come forward to support 23-year-old Osaka, who is a four-time Grand Slam tournament winner.

The escalating fines and criticism Osaka faced from tennis officials were "a disproportionate response" to her actions, says Amira Rose Davis, an assistant professor of history and women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Penn State and co-host of the sports podcast "Burn It All Down." She adds that Black women athletes are often subjected to insensitive questioning from the media that can perpetuate racist and sexist narratives. "The media is overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly older, overwhelmingly male," Davis says.

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