Naomi Osaka, the number two player in the world, decided to withdraw from the French Open before being forced to attend press conferences, attributing it to psychological problems. More precisely, depression. She has been characterized by presenting a somewhat confusing image, on the one hand, introverted and on the other extroverted. These opposite faces leave the audience confused, which is why some support it and others criticize it.
Press conferences are crucial for any sport. Athletes have a fundamental responsibility to their fans and sponsors, on and off the field of play. People are curious about the players’ perspective of their match and also so that the fans can learn from their hero’s successes or defeats. Athletes today are making a tremendous amount of money in endorsements.
This is where the role of a coach comes in, and one popular coach is Gabe Jaramillo. He considers himself responsible for training young athletes to handle the press. Marketability is not talked about very often: it seems like most coaches and coaching books assume that this is a natural side effect of talent or exposure. But this is not true. Like any other skill, a player’s appeal needs to be worked on constantly. An athlete’s marketability is baked into every aspect of themselves: their interview skills, public speaking ability, views on current events, etc.
Like any other Champion, Naomi is a performer and a fearless competitor. This is why many do not believe that she pulled out of the French Open because she was afraid of the Clay courts. She is a shy, introverted person. But, her exposure to politics crumbled her world. Naomi is a young 21-year-old with little experience handling the friendly tennis press; when she made mistakes, they were overlooked. But when she began racing her profile rallying for social justice during the 2020 US Open, she jumped with the sharks talking politics, and that is another league.
According to Gabe, it is admirable for an athlete to take on such a great responsibility as the Social Justice flag. Still, it is a hefty burden, especially on a quiet and introverted young woman of only 21 years of age.
Gabe is of the opinion that all coaches are responsible for preparing their young athletes to know how to execute plays and assume the commitments that are sometimes unintentionally imposed on them. This does not mean that high-performance athletes have to be perfect. But, they do have to accept that their decisions lead to consequences that can help or harm since they symbolize an image to follow. Hence, whoever aspires to become a high-level athlete has to assume the responsibility that this represents. A coach’s goal is not just to make champions but also to educate these promising youngsters to take their responsibilities.
About Gabe Jaramillo
Featured as an expert commentator on ESPN, Gabe Jaramillo is a renowned tennis coach. The Tennis On Demand app and YouTube channel founder, Jaramillo, reaches over 9 million viewers and has garnered over 108,000 followers on his Facebook and 30,000 followers on his Instagram. Today, Jaramillo is also the Senior Executive Vice President, Director of Tennis Training Altitude International Holdings Inc. Gabe was also a part of the 16th ITF Regional Conference for South American Coaches and the founder and owner of International Coaching Services.
Besides being a world-class coach, Gabe is also a motivational speaker. He has spoken for various organizations such as Club Med, Discovery Channel, Propal, Neoris, Orange Economy, and the Young President Organization. He also served as a keynote speaker for ITF World and Regional Conferences for the International Tennis Federation and the JPTA, USPTA, RPT, PTR, CBT, and FEDCOL.