POST-MATCH press conferences have provided some of the most enthralling moments sport has seen, but also some of the most uncomfortable.

Who will ever forget Kevin Keegan’s “I’d love it if we beat them” rant about Manchester United and the league run-in, following a Newcastle United victory as the 1996 Premier League season drew to a close?

Equally, though, there are post-match press conferences which are painful to watch, like Johanna Konta’s appearance in front of the media at Wimbledon two years ago, during which she took exception to a line of questioning by a journalist and proceeded to confront the inquisitor, calling him “harsh “ and “patronising”.

Of course, many press conferences are barely memorable five minutes after they have finished, but their role and value have been questioned during the week after Naomi Osaka’s announcement that she will decline to do any press during the French Open, which begins today.

It is quite a move both for Osaka and for tennis as a whole.

The 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam champion is one of tennis’ most famous, celebrated and bankable stars. Her success was highlighted this month when it was revealed she was the world’s top-earning female athlete, and she has been lauded not only for her tennis, but also for her activism off the court.

In a world where many sport stars are duller than dull in their press conferences, Osaka is a breath of fresh air. Articulate, interesting, self-depreciating and insightful, she is invariably worth listening to.

Which is why her announcement is such a disappointment. Osaka said in a statement that she had come to the conclusion that doing press has a negative effect on her mental health.

“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one. We’re often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I am not going to subject myself to people who doubt me,” she said, before going on to make clear her belief that post-match press conferences when you have lost a match are “kicking a person when they’re down”.

Having to appear after a defeat is, unsurprisingly, a painful experience, while being asked difficult questions is hardly relaxing.

But it is hard to see how refusing to do press entirely is a good move for either the players, or the sport.

Osaka has, of course, every right to do as she pleases and if she chooses to take the heavy fine that will inevitably be handed down for failing to fulfil the press commitments that every player is obligated to do as a member of the tour, that is her prerogative.

Incidentally, Osaka has said she hopes the money she is fined will be donated to a mental health charity.

However, her stance is a watershed moment in tennis, and perhaps sport as a whole.

Until now, tennis players have failed to attend to press conferences here and there but, generally, they turn up.

So for Osaka, ahead of time, to profess she is planning on boycotting all press is unique.

In response to Osaka’s statement, men’s world No.1, Novak Djokovic, has agreed that attending a press conference can be “very unpleasant” but that it is “part of the sport”.

I don’t agree with too many of Djokovic’s opinions, but I do on this.

Tennis is a global sport in huge part due to the role the press has played and continues to play in covering and promoting it.

Without the press, Osaka would not be earning the millions of dollars she is.

That is not to say she should be eternally grateful to the press because equally, without her and her fellow players, the media would have nothing to cover.

But there can be no doubt it is a symbiotic relationship; both would perhaps survive without each other, but neither would thrive.

Osaka’s move is a sign of the times as much as an insight into her opinion on the press. In the past, the only way athletes had of communicating with their fans was through the media.

These days, with social media so ubiquitous, athletes do not need the press in the same way.

If Osaka has something to say, she can jump on Twitter, Instagram or TikTok and say it.

And by putting content on her own social media channels, she is ensuring she will not be taken out of context nor misquoted.

The likes of Billie Jean King, John McEnroe and even the Williams sisters in their early days did not have such a luxury.

Osaka has said her boycott, for now anyway, will only be for the French Open.

But she is setting a dangerous precedent.

Certainly, there is a conversation to be had about how to make press conferences work best for the athletes, as that in turn ensures the journalists have the chance of getting interesting answers rather than banal, dismissive ones to their questions.

But whatever the solution is, players trying to eliminate press conferences entirely will result in a far less interesting, entertaining and marketable sport.