I don’t follow tennis, and I had no idea who Naomi Osaka was when I first saw this story in the papers.
But, talking about professional sports in general, it seems to me that we’re talking about a massive entertainment business.
It’s usually in an actor’s contract that he or she must participate in press events, which are in fact promotional events.
I’m not sure why athletes should be treated differently than actors. I’m not sure that Ms. Osaka is subject to more public scrutiny than, say, Jennifer Lawrence, or why she should have a lesser obligation to participate in the marketing machine.
She also chooses, quite freely, to put herself out there in public by endorsing, and appearing in commercials for, various athletic clothing companies, and is spectacularly well-compensated for that. And appearing at press events and engaging with the press and the public is a big part of what makes her desirable, and thus worth massive amounts of money, to her sponsors. So, to some extent, the fact that she lives a very public life is her choice, and at the moment, she appears to be trying to have her cake and eat it too.
On the other hand, I’m not unsympathetic to the plight of a very young woman thrust into the public eye. Maybe she’s really an introvert who hates being in front of cameras and reporters.
Also, just checking Wikipedia to see who she is, it looks like she was raised by a father determined to re-create the success of the Williams sisters with his own daughters. Which is, if you ask me, not a healthy way to grow up. I certainly wouldn’t want it for my own daughters, even if they showed signs of athletic talent.
So I’m torn. It seems completely reasonable to expect incredibly highly-paid professional athletes to participate in the publicity engine that, in fact, drives their massive compensation. On the other hand, we throw people into that machine when they’re children (Ms. Osaka turned pro at 15).