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Venus Williams on Dealing with Media Scrutiny: 'You'll Never Light a Candle to Me'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJune 1, 2021

Oscar J. Barroso / Europa Press Sports via Getty Images

Venus Williams says it's "definitely not easy to do press" for anyone in the wake of Naomi Osaka's withdrawal from the 2021 French Open.

Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, was asked how she has coped with media attention and requirements in her 26-year tennis career.

"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, so no matter what you say or write, you'll never light a candle to me," she told reporters Tuesday. "So that's how I deal with it, but each person deals with it differently."

Osaka announced Monday she was removing herself from the French Open field and taking "some time away from the court" after being fined $15,000 for not appearing for a press conference after her first-round win over Patricia Maria Tig.

The 23-year-old Japanese star said before the tournament she planned to skip the media sessions, citing mental health concerns.

Tennis' four Grand Slam tournaments released a joint statement Tuesday saying they'd "work alongside the players, the tours, the media and the broader tennis community to create meaningful improvements."

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Venus' sister, Serena Williams, was also asked about Osaka's decision Monday and said her own press conferences over the years have made her "stronger":

"I feel for Naomi. Not everyone is the same. I'm thick. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to and the best way she thinks she can. That's the only thing I can say: I think she is doing the best she can."

The Grand Slams' statement didn't include a timetable for a potential reworking of media guidelines.

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