NAOMI OSAKA has been told by Chris Evert to foster thicker skin in the midst of her new issues on the court.
Naomi Osaka was told she needs to continue developing a thick skin in order to brush off any negativity. The Japanese star was affected by hecklers during her exit from Indian Wells last month, which forced her to tears.
She returned renewed in Miami and contacted her first last beginning around 2021, losing to new world number one Iga Swiatek, who is at present on a 17-match series of wins. In a drawn out interview with Eurosport, tennis legend Chris Evert remarked on the psychological side of the game and how Osaka ought to attempt to oversee it.
“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,” the 18-time grand slam champion said. “It has been a struggle for her and I think that she is just sensitive and she is just vulnerable.
“You have to have thick skin, that’s a reality and that’s not a criticism. If you don’t have thick skin, you can develop 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
“You have to understand that and do the best you can, but you have to be thick-skinned and realise that if somebody takes a pot shot or somebody takes a shot at you, that is their problem. That is not your problem.”
This week, the American commented on the mental toughness of Emma Raducanu, who has had to cope with a meteoric rise to superstardom following her surprise US Open win last September. Following her monumental victory, the extra scrutiny, criticism and added pressure has been tough to adjust to, but Evert believes the teen is handling it well.
“It’s not all the press there, but the tabloids, you just have to be thick-skinned,” the 67-year-old shared. “She has got to be thick-skinned. But I think she is.” Following her defeat at the Hard Rock Stadium last weekend, Osaka said she may leave Florida with something more valuable than the winner’s trophy.
“I have learned that like, I don’t know, I’m not as disappointed as I normally would be, like I think normally I would be crying in the locker room or something, but now I’m kind of like chill,” she said. “I feel like I know what I want to do better, and I just want to go back and start training again to like hopefully win a tournament next time.”
It was encouraging to hear this perspective from Osaka, who took breaks from the sport last year to prioritise her mental health, one following the French Open and another following an early exit from the US Open