Naomi Osaka's career could be in danger because of her mental health issues, according to six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker.
The 23-year-old Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday following the controversy surrounding her refusal to take part in post-match media conferences.
In a statement on Monday the Japanese player said she had made the decision to withdraw in order to avoid the stand-off becoming a distraction, adding that she has suffered from bouts of depression since winning the 2018 U.S. Open.
Her initial reasoning for her media boycott, announced in the build-up to the French Open, was that the nature of the questioning was often damaging to her mental wellbeing.
While her admission of depression and anxiety has resulted in widespread support from the tennis community and beyond, Becker worries that not being able to deal with what is part of the life of a top-level athlete is a big problem.
"I heard her first response a couple of days ago about this media boycott and that is something to be always taken seriously, especially from such a young woman," Becker told Eurosport with whom he works as an analyst.
"She couldn't cope with the pressures of facing the media after she loses a match, but that happens frequently and you have to deal with it.
"If she can't cope with the media in Paris, she can't cope with the media in Wimbledon or the U.S. Open. So I almost feel like her career is in danger due to mental health issues," he said.
World number two Osaka has said she will take some time away from tennis but hoped to work with the sport's authorities to create a better environment.
In her statement she referred to the rules regarding players' media responsibilities as "outdated in parts".
Becker himself said he found the constant media press conferences tiresome during his playing career. "I always believed the media was part of the job. Without the media, there is no prize money, no contracts, you don't get half the cake," he said. "I hated the media and I didn't like talking to journalists, but you had to do it.
"Now she is pulling out of the tournament altogether because she can't cope with it and that raises much bigger questions for me," he added.
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