Piers Morgan has come under fire again after he blasted Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka for pulling out of doing media interviews.
The 23-year-old player, ranked world No 1, announced she would not be taking part in any press conferences during the French Open because talking to journalists “affected her mental health” and she didn’t want it to affect her game.
But Piers did not buy it and has called her a “brat”, even comparing her to his nemesis Meghan Markle.
The Tennis Grand Slam tournament bigwigs confirmed that Osaka would be fined roughly £10,500 for refusing to attend the mandatory post-match chats with media.
She said in a social media statement: “So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences.”
It has since emerged that that Osaka has pulled out of the competition completely, citing social anxiety and “a really hard time coping” with the depression she has suffered since the US Open in 2018.
Piers, 56, did not mince his words in his Mail Online column.
He said: "What Osaka really means is that she doesn't want to face the media if she hasn't played well, because the beastly journalists might actually dare to criticise her performance, and she's not going to 'subject' herself to 'people that doubt me’.
"This is straight out of the Meghan and Harry playbook of wanting to have the world's largest cake and eating it, by exploiting the media for ruthlessly commercial self-promotion but using mental health to silence any media criticism."
While some people agreed with him, pointing out that speaking to the media is also another way of talking to fans – the paying audience – and therefore part of the “package”, others slammed Piers.
British golfer Andrew Johnston said: "U shouldn’t be attacking her. U should be attacking the people who fined her. She’s there to play tennis. It should have been respected. Maybe take a second to think about the person first."
Piers retweeted the post, adding: "She attacked the media for doing their jobs. As Nadal etc said this week, without media support, tennis would not be the big sport it is & the players wouldn’t be rich famous stars."
BBC Breakfast host Dan Walker chimed in with: "I’ve not been on socials today. Just looking at some of the grim darts being fired at Naomi Osaka.
"If someone says they are struggling with their mental health then surely our first reaction should be to listen rather than judge?"
Another Twitter user said: “Imagine being so deeply unpleasant that you would suggest that someone who is suffering from mental illness is using it as an ‘excuse’.”
Piers finished with: “What journalist will dare criticise Naomi Osaka ever again? She’s got what she wanted – no more criticism, only praise.
“Meanwhile, all her fellow tennis professionals will continue to fulfil their contractual obligations to the media & get criticism when deserved.”
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