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Venus Williams weighs in on media row

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American star Venus Williams says he has her own defence mechanisms, developed over her long career, when dealing with the press.

Venus Williams of the US returns the ball to Russia's Ekaterina Alexandrova
Venus Williams of the US returns the ball to Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova during their women’s singles first round tennis match on Day 3 of The Roland Garros 2021 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on Tuesday. Picture: Anne-Christine Poujoulat, AFP

PARIS – American star Venus Williams said Tuesday she has never suffered at press conferences, telling French Open reporters: “I know every person asking me a question cannot play as well as me”.

Williams was responding to Naomi Osaka’s belief that post-match media inquests were harmful to her mental health and equated them to “kicking a person when they’re down”.

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Osaka withdrew from Roland Garros on Monday.

But the 40-year-old Williams said she had her own defence mechanism, developed over a career which has yielded seven majors.

“For me personally how I deal with it was that I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will,” she said.

“So no matter what you say or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me. So that’s how I deal with it. But each person deals with it differently.”

Williams, playing the French Open for the 24th time and a runner-up 19 years ago, saw her 89th Grand Slam end at the first hurdle Tuesday as Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova eased to a 6-3, 6-1 win.

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AFP