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A resurfaced clip of Venus Williams’ father calling out a reporter during an interview when she was a teenager has gone viral after Naomi Osaka’s decision to withdraw from the French Open.
Earlier we reported that Osaka was fined $15,000 for NOT speaking to the press after her match at the French Open on Sunday. She later withdrew from the tournament and cited her mental health as the reason for the move.
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“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” she wrote on Twitter. “I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”
Osaka went on to explain that she has had bouts of depression since the 2018 US Open, and that she gets “huge waves of anxiety” before she speaks to the media.
“I get really nervous and find it stressful to always engage and give you the best answers I can,” she wrote. “So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences.”
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Her withdrawal was met with support from fans and fellow players, and some criticism. Amid the fallout, a clip of a young Venus Williams being questioned about her confidence has resurfaced on Twitter and it has racked up over five million views.
Here’s more from MSN:
Recorded in 1995 for ABC News’ Day One, the interview took place shortly after Williams had turned professional in October 1994 at the age of 14.
Asked by John McKenzie whether she can beat her next opponent, Williams replies smiling: “I know I can beat her.”
“You know you can beat her?,” McKenzie quips back, sounding somewhat surprised by the response.
Nodding along, Williams agrees.
“I’m very confident,” she says.
McKenzie then probes Williams’ confidence again.
“You say it so easily. Why?”
“Cause I believe it,” she replies.
At this moment, the interview is interrupted by Richard Williams, who abruptly cuts off the interviewer.
“What she said […] she said it with so much confidence the first time,” he says referring to his daughter’s initial reply.
“But you keep going on and on.”
Williams then admonishes McKenzie against asking the same question again.
“You’ve got to understand that you’re dealing with an image of a 14-year-old child. And this child gonna be out there playing when your old a** and me gonna be in the grave,” he says.
“When she say something, we done told you what’s happening. You’re dealing with a little Black kid, and let her be a kid,” Williams says.
“She done answered it with a lot of confidence. Leave that alone!”
When Venus was recently asked for her thoughts on Osaka’s withdrawal, she explained how she and her sister Serena Williams have dealt with media scrutiny.
“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 told reporters following her straight-sets loss to Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round of the French Open.
“So no matter what you say or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me.
“That’s how I deal with it. But each person deals with it differently.”
Watch the moment below.
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