Naomi Osaka’s French Open drama is full of gaping holes

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After careful consideration far from the fray, this Naomi Osaka French Open withdrawal drama makes slim applied sense. Too many holes.

For starters, she initially blamed her mental depression on the tennis media hordes, beginning with her maltreatment after her stunning victory over recidivist bad loser and overly self-entitled Serena Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open.

But the media had nothing to do with it. Katrina Adams, president of the USTA, however, did Osaka serious dirt.

After the match, in which Williams abused her racket, the chair ump and, by extension, Osaka (the third fit Williams had thrown on her own behalf during a U.S. Open), Adams took the on-court microphone. In full, graceless, shameless pandering mode, Adams declared Williams the public’s champ:

“Perhaps it’s not the finish we were looking for today, but Serena you are the champion of all champions! This mama is a role model and respected by all!”

In the meantime, Osaka stood by, her achievement diminished by Adams’ highly debatable declaration. Small wonder her greatest achievement may have caused her lasting emotional duress.

Adams, by the way, wasn’t done. She later issued a statement praising Williams for her “class and sportsmanship,” contrary to what was in ample evidence during the match.

Williams wasn’t done, either. She chose to frame that latest rotten conduct as an expression of greater-good activism on behalf of women’s rights — convenient nonsense that nonetheless was swallowed whole by much of the media and former tennis stars, especially those who knew better, but chose to play PC stupid.

Beyond that, Osaka’s recent decision to no longer speak with the intrusive media — with at least one exception — as part of an environment that makes her uncomfortable as a treatment or response to depression doesn’t wash.

Osaka’s courage on behalf of her no-media convictions took a big hit, after her winning but I’m-outta-here match at Sunday’s French Open. Osaka, who is Japanese, allowed herself to be interviewed by Wowow, a Japanese broadcaster that pays her for her time, access and words. Hmmm.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka
Getty Images

Is it cruel to suggest her media-enflamed depression is selective? Should we ignore certain facts?

She is also funded by three companies whose logos are prominently displayed on her shirt when she plays and when she sits for post-match interviews as to ensure maximum commercial exposure.

TV is also media, and it pays a pile to televise top-flight tennis, payments, from which prize money is drawn and distributed.

We’re stuck. Should we hope that Osaka genuinely suffers from depression? Or hope that she just threw the kind of tantrum to which Williams is both entitled and for which she is even praised?

The cynical money is almost always the smart money, and it says that money will win in the end. In Osaka’s highest internationally profiled case, it already has — depending on whether you choose to see that her firm media boycott includes paying exceptions.

Bad behavior?!? Reggie wants more of it

The sprint backward always seems to be at the signal of a starter pistol fired by TV for TV.

The Hawks-Knicks series was drenched in incivility, from players, patrons and media who fanned the flames.

So, in its final game Wednesday, after Julius Randle laid out Atlanta’s Onyeka Okongwu with a flagrant elbow — risking a first-quarter ejection, no less — the teams met near midcourt to posture their mutual disregard. Reggie Miller, on TNT, was delighted:

“Now Randle is having words with some of the Hawks players. This is what the league needs! We need more rivalries like this! … Two cities that don’t like one another!”

Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller
Reuters

He spoke over the Garden’s sophisticates again chanting an obscenity.

Good grief. Miller must’ve loved it when the teams crossed paths en route to their locker rooms at halftime, players intentionally bumping into each other like street toughs eager to make ugly uglier.

This is the garbage that’s turning right-headed fans from the NBA, as they no longer can suffer the insufferable, the antithesis of sports presented — and applauded — as sport. Yes, Reggie, we need more. Vulgar, menacing rivalries, cities that don’t like each other, basketball as holy turf wars. Great idea.


Lost count of how many times TNT focused on Spike Lee, the Knicks’ 64-year-old mascot, dressed in his clown outfit, as he jumped from his front row seat to demonstrate his presumed fervor, home and away.

But why would someone seated in the front row be compelled to spend so much time on his feet acting like an overly excited child if not for maximum TV attention? It’s not as if anyone was blocking his view. Or is Lee there to be seen rather than to watch? Would he act similarly without TV?


Analytics Box Scores of the Week:

First runner up: Blue Jays 6, Marlins 5 — 25 strikeouts, 12 pitchers, 3:41.

Winner: Rays 5, Phillies 3 — 31 strikeouts, nine pitchers. It could’ve been worse. It was an 8 ¹/₂-inning game.

Not long ago, the analytics media lobby mocked and ridiculed opponents as old fashioned, as “traditionalists.” Now they’re in their own defensive shift, asking, “Gee, what the heck happened to The Game?”

Out of line not O-Kay

Thursday on YES, Michael Kay and John Flaherty said the Rays’ Kevin Kiermaier should have been ruled out for avoiding a tag by slightly running out of the first base line, as if that line must be taken. It doesn’t. Had they never seen a player headed for second on a double run far outside that line in order to cut down the angle around first?


Jimmy Dolan never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. He could’ve won the night — and the week — before Knicks-Hawks Game 5 even began had he walked over to briefly wish Marv Albert well in what became Albert’s last game called in the Garden. But he didn’t.

Reader Len Geller figures that he might be the last never to have been described as “iconic.”


Phillies manager Joe Girardi is not forthcoming on his players’ injuries, including one to star Bryce Harper that prevented him from playing? That’s unfair to ticket-buyers and media? Who cares? MLB is now more concerned with what’s best for its partnered gambling enterprises.


Apparently there’s now an NBA game rule that at least one team, regardless of its official colors, must wear Nike black uniforms.


If only Aaron Boone were as tough on his players as he is on umps. Three times in under Yankees didn’t know how many outs there were. Counting to three is difficult.


MLB, the miracle cure for insomnia: For no good reasons, Thursday night’s Mets-Padres — an 8 ¹/₂-inning slog won 4-3 by San Diego — ran 3:35.


MLB fan marketing surveys now include a question as to the political party one is registered, Democrat or Republican. Seriously, as if that’s any of MLB business or should influence its business. I’d go with Bolshevik, on behalf of all the players who choose to Trotsky to first base.



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