Naomi Osaka, according to retired American tennis player Chris Evert, needs to continue to show “thick skin” when talking to the media and spectators as she struggles with the pressure and expectations placed on her.
Osaka has since returned to a more positive outlook after being clearly angry during a match in Indian Wells where she was heckled by a disrespectful spectator. She was runner-up at the Miami Open. Evert believes it’s critical for the Japanese superstar to keep shutting out the negative.
“She is just sensitive vulnerable”- Chris Evert
“We are all fans of Naomi Osaka and we have seen the high level of tennis that she can play and we have seen her win Grand Slams,” Evert told Eurosport in an interview ahead of the French Open.
“It is not just playing a match on the court, it is everything that goes along with it. It has been a struggle for her and I think that she is just sensitive and she is just vulnerable.”
Evert feels that everyone in the public spotlight needs thick skin since they are more vulnerable to judgement and criticism than the typical individual. “You have to have thick skin, that’s a reality and that’s not a criticism,” added the former World No.1. “If you don’t have thick skin, you can develop a thick skin because you’ve got to understand that if you are this successful, you are out in the open for anybody to judge and for anybody to talk about you.”
“I’ve always thought that if you are successful in any field and you are making millions and millions of dollars on the tennis court and endorsement sponsorships, that you pay the price. There’s a price for everything.”
“You can’t just go smooth, you can’t avoid the pitfalls of success. You have to understand that and do the best you can, but you have to be thick-skinned and realize that if somebody takes a pot shot or somebody takes a shot at you, that is their problem. That is not your problem,” the 18-times Grand Slam champion concluded.