Naomi Osaka’s Withdrawal from the 2021 French Open Due to Mental Health

Tarlin and Mike are back to draw lessons learned from Naomi Osaka’s recent withdrawal from the 2021 French Open citing mental health concerns around appearing for press conferences. We dig into this kerfuffle with the leadership of Roland-Garros over her decision to skip press conferences so she could focus on tennis and run it back to recent tennis history with Naomi’s first Grand Slam title at the 2018 US Open versus her idol, Serena Williams. That match is emotionally challenging to watch and it clearly has had a profound impact on Osaka that we wanted to explore more deeply.

Whether it’s the tennis of the match itself, the cringe-worthy umpiring controversy between Serena and umpire Cesar Ramos, the equally painful to watch Trophy Ceremony, or Naomi’s post-match press conference in 2018, we explore all the angles to try to understand and empathize with where Naomi is coming from.

Along the way, we dig into other famously awkward media appearances by Allen Iverson, Marshawn Lynch, Rasheed Wallace, Greg Popovich, and Bill Belichek before concluding with our thoughts on mental health awareness and the recent trend towards its destigmatization in sports. Naomi is taking a stand here as a role model and leader in Gen Z and we want to recognize her courage as we look to learn from the history contentious relationships between athletes like Naomi and the press.

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Sports Parenting Lessons from the Houses of Woods, Williams and Ball

Tarlin and Mike return again. This time to run it back to the history of dominant sports dads who built cultures and drew fire as their offspring rose to unprecedented heights in the sports world. We begin by looking at the story of LeVar Ball who is attempting to build a family business in the NBA with Lonzo Ball and likely 2021 Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball already thriving. From there, we run it back to the narratives around Earl Woods raising Tiger Woods and Richard Dove Williams Jr raising Venus and Serena Williams.

What do these stories have in common and what lessons can we learn about parenting, leadership, and family? We explore all of this and also look at the frequently unsung roles of the mothers in these sports families. Are we really talking about Co-CEOs as the key to building a sports legend? How are these alpha Dads reminiscent of Steve Jobs? And is Kultida Woods truly the Tiger Mom of all Tiger Moms?

Listen in to find out. And be sure to subscribe to Running It Back wherever you get your podcasts. Visit us at RunningItBack.fm for more great shows like this!

Serena the GOAT

On the heels of Naomi Osaka’s victory in the 2021 Australian Open, Tarlin and Mike spend some time reflecting on the legend and the legacy of Serena Williams. What lessons can be learned from Serena’s career? How does she stack up versus other greats in Women’s Tennis and against other athletes overall?

We talk about her broader cultural impact beyond the court and conclude that Serena belongs on our Mount Rushmore ahead of Tom Brady, Martina Navritalova, and more.

If you like what you’re hearing, check us out at RunningItBack.fm and subscribe to Running It Back wherever you get your podcasts.