Stephen Kenny empathises with Naomi Osaka over anxiety relating to media duties

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Stephen Kenny admits he can empathise with tennis star Naomi Osaka after she opened up over her anxiety about her media commitments.

The world number two has withdrawn from the French Open after revealing her mental health struggles in the wake of her decision not to appear at mandatory post-match press conferences.

Republic of Ireland manager Kenny accepts that media duties are part of his job, but acknowledges the challenges they can present.

Speaking as he prepared his players for their friendly clash with Andorra on Thursday – after a run of 11 games without a win – he said: “I think we’ve always just considered that as part of the job.

“Of course, after a difficult defeat… If it’s great result, nobody minds speaking. I’ve been a manager for a number of years, it’s always been associated as part of the job, and players likewise.

“We shouldn’t complain as we are privileged to be in a position to do it, so it’s not something I would complain about.

“But I understand it can have a detrimental effect on players or sportspeople, whether tennis players or any other sport. I can empathise with that. That’s a reality.

“I have no plans to change the format. That’s part of international management from my point of view.”

While conducting post-match interviews can be a challenge as a football manager, Kenny has little doubt that he has it easier than some in other sports.

He said: “I’m always in awe of boxers getting out of the ring and speaking straight away after 12 or 15 rounds. I find it incredible.

“They especially, in my view, have some of the toughest interviews after some of the toughest fights. To lose a fight and have to speak about that and speak about your opponent…

“They probably deserve the most credit out of all the sportspeople.”

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