Naomi Osaka fined for not speaking to media at Roland Garros, risk by default for additional press silence

Naomi Osaka fined for not speaking to media at Roland Garros, risk by default for additional press silence

Naomi Osaka said ahead of the French Open that she would not speak to the media, citing mental health issues.

On Sunday, the officials of the four Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – announced in a joint statement that she was fined $ 15,000 for not speaking to the press after the first round and added that repeated violations could lead to a Roland Garros default and possible future Grand Slam suspensions.

“We want to stress that rules are in place to ensure that all players are treated exactly the same, regardless of their stature, beliefs or achievements,” the statement read. “As a sport, there is nothing more important than making sure that no player has an unfair advantage over another, which is unfortunately the case in this situation if a player refuses to spend time. time to participate in media engagements while others honor all of their pledges. “

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Osaka said in a post on social media on Wednesday that she believed that athletes’ mental health was often overlooked and that at press conferences they were asked questions that “make us doubt and I just won’t submit to people who doubt me.”

She noted that she expected to receive a “significant” fine, but added that she hoped the money would be used to improve mental health.

“If organizations think they can just keep saying, ‘Lobby or you will be fined’, and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes who are the centerpiece of their cooperation [corporation] so I have to laugh, “she wrote.” Either way, I hope the hefty amount I am fined for this goes to a mental health charity.

Osaka, the second-largest player in the world, did not speak to the media after winning her first-round match at Roland Garros on Sunday against Patricia Maria Tig, resulting in the tournament referee and the organizers’ statement being fined .

Executives said in a statement they contacted Osaka ahead of the French Open to “check on their well-being and offer their support, highlight their commitment to the well-being of all athletes and suggest a dialogue on the issues. “, while reminding him. that she was contractually obligated to speak to the media after the events.

They said they all have significant resources dedicated to player well-being, but stressed the importance for athletes to engage with them and share their perspective to help improve experiences.

“A central element of the Grand Slam rules is the players’ responsibility to engage with the media, regardless of the outcome of their match, a responsibility that the players take on for the benefit of the sport, the fans and for themselves. “, says the press release. . “These interactions allow both the actors and the media to share their point of view and the actors to tell their story. The facilitation of media to a wide range of channels, both traditional and digital, is a major contributor to the development and growth of our sport and the fan base of individual players. “

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