AS the end of the first week approaches, Kyle Edmund is the only Brit left standing in the singles events at the French Open.

The particularly disappointing result was British women’s number one Jo Konta’s first round defeat to Yulia Putintseva who, at number 93 in the world, was 71 places below the Brit in the world rankings.

Konta has a dire record at Roland Garros, losing in the first round in all four of her previous appearances. But her reasoning for her poor performance this week was somewhat unusual.

The Brit is normally relatively measured in her post-match press conferences – regardless of whether she has won or lost – but this one was slightly different.

In the course of her press conference, she took a swipe at the press pack, accusing their “negative tone” for her disappointing performances at the tournament in recent years.

After losing to Putintseva, she asked journalists whether they felt it was fair to keep bringing up her previous form in Paris.

“I don’t think it helps if it keeps being said: ‘Oh, she hasn’t done well there before,’” the 27-year-old said, before asking the journalists if they would appreciate the standard of their writing being criticised had their work been sub-standard.

“You guys don’t make it easy,” she finished by saying.

It was an interesting tack to take by Konta. After seeing it from both an athlete’s and a journalist’s perspective over the years, I can see there are two sides to the story. There is, without doubt, some commentary of athletes that is grossly unfair and unduly harsh.

It is easy to sit on the sidelines and slaughter an athlete’s or team’s performance and comment on where they went wrong and what they should have done better. Everyone is an expert from the stands while executing the performance is far more difficult a task. For the press to expect athletes never to make mistakes is ridiculous.

No athlete goes out into the competitive arena to perform poorly, which is why a certain level of criticism is undue. But there is a feeling from some athletes, and this is particularly common within football, that a journalist has no right to criticise the game or a player if they have not played the sport at a high level themselves. There are certainly things that are almost impossible to appreciate if you have only been an observer all your life and there is a particular insight that an individual can only pick up having been in the thick of things themselves rather than merely observing. But to expect the press to have no opinions other than positive ones is unrealistic.

There are times when the press fundamentally misunderstand and misrepresent athletes. When 800m runner Lynsey Sharp was eliminated in the semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games, she did not speak to the media in the mixed zone. Amongst other criticism, BBC journalist Tom English tweeted that it was a poor show from her to blank the media, although she did post a statement on social media later in the day.

With journalists so dependent on quotes from athletes, it is easy to see how getting a few lines from them becomes a major focus. But to expect an athlete to speak immediately after a defeat, one which is often devastating and has had months, if not years, of hard work put into it, is somewhat unfair.

To suggest, as Konta did, that journalists should not be critical, or even just point out facts, as had happened to her, is ridiculous. Yes, the media can be brutal but they also have every right to pass an opinion. Nothing that was said about Konta was unduly harsh and it is likely that she is using the media’s attitude towards her as of a deflection from her own performances.

The media are not always balanced but, more often than not, any criticism dished out is justified, at least in part. The life of an elite athlete is not as luxurious as some may imagine but there is no doubt that having to cope with a touch of negativity here and there is a necessary evil and complaining about it will not garner much sympathy.

So Konta should maybe stop concentrating on the media’s comments and focus more on getting back to winning ways.