French Open: Pegula discusses players skipping news conferences to protect mental health
American tennis player, Jessica Pegula, currently ranked third in singles and second in doubles on the WTA Tour has shared her thoughts on the recent trend of players opting out of open news conferences after matches at the French Open. In her latest column for our site, she reflects on Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka’s decision to skip another press conference citing safety concerns as well as Naomi Osaka’s stance two years ago surrounding mental health.
The Press Conference Dilemma:
The media plays a crucial role in growing the sport and connecting with fans; however, it is essential to strike a balance between its importance and ensuring player safety. This year’s French Open has witnessed several players not speaking to reporters after matches due to concerns over their mental wellbeing.
Sabalenka pulled out from doing an open-news conference for the second round running claiming that she didn’t feel safe. She expressed that she’d been receiving numerous questions about Belarus’ support of Russia amid tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
“After what happened with Naomi Osaka two years ago, I believe that tournaments are becoming more empathetic towards athletes’ mental health needs surrounding press conferences,” said Pegula.
Pegula believes that it is her colleague’s right not to answer questions they do not wish or feel comfortable answering while also acknowledging the media’s right to ask whatever necessary questions related to tennis.
Tough Losses And Doubles Redemption:
After her tough loss, Pegula was not in the mood for media interviews but luckily only had one person ask for a couple of quotes which she gave without having to hold an open news conference.
Since then, she’s partnered with regular doubles partner Coco Gauff and enjoyed two wins. Playing alongside Gauff has been helpful as it helps both players lift each other’s spirits when they’re down.
Doubles may be fun and bring success; however, like most tennis players, singles remain their top priority. For Jessica Pegula too, achieving success in singles is what matters the most even though she ranks high on both charts.