French Open 2021: Naomi Osaka fined 15,000 USD for not participating in media interviews, warned of expulsion

French Open: Citing mental health concerns, Osaka says she won't do press at French Open
French Open: Citing mental health concerns, Osaka says she won't do press at French Open

French Open 2021: Naomi Osaka fined 15,000 USD for not participating in media interviews, warned of expulsion- Naomi Osaka announced last Wednesday on social media that she would not participate in the mandatory media interviews at Roland-Garros 2021. Following this announcement, the Roland-Garros teams asked her to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand the specifics of her issue and what might be done to address it on site.

Following the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialog on the issues. She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.

Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland-Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine, in keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct.

The mental health of players competing in our tournaments and on the Tours is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams.

We individually and collectively have significant resources dedicated to player well-being. In order to continue to improve however, we need engagement from the players to understand their perspective and find ways to improve their experiences. Every year we seek to deliver better experiences to our fans, our players and our people, and we have a long and successful track record in achievement on this count.

A core element of the Grand Slam regulations is the responsibility of the players to engage with the media, whatever the result of their match, a responsibility which players take for the benefit of the sport, the fans and for themselves. These interactions allow both the players and the media to share their perspective and for the players to tell their story. The facilitation of media to a broad array 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.

We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences. As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament (Code of Conduct article III T.) and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions (Code of Conduct article IV A.3.).

We want to underline that rules are in place to ensure all players are treated exactly the same, no matter their stature, beliefs or achievement.  As a sport there is nothing more important than ensuring no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is the case in this situation if one player refuses to dedicate time to participate in media commitments while the others all honour their commitments.

Finally, all Grand Slams remain committed to continually reviewing and discussing opportunities, together with the Tours and the players, to improve every aspect of the player experience, including with the media. But we consider this is only ever achieved through respectful and constructive discussions.

French Open 2021: Naomi Osaka fined 15,000 USD for not participating in media interviews, warned of expulsion

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has declared that she will not take questions from the press at this year’s French Open, saying the nature of news conferences puts an undue burden on players’ mental health.

According to the tournament norms – it is mandatory for each player to do a press conference post their matches. Now with Osaka’s declaration – either organizers have to change their rules or will have to bow to Osaka’s decision.

“I’m writing this to say I’m not going to do any press during Roland Garros,” Naomi Osaka wrote on Twitter.

“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’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”

Osaka added that expecting players to answer questions after losses amounted to “kicking a person while they’re down.”

French Open 2021: Naomi Osaka’s big declaration, ‘won’t do press-conference’, will French Open organizers agree?

French Open 2021 – Naomi Osaka: The world No. 2 said the decision was “nothing personal” against the tournament or a couple of journalists she said she has a friendly relationship with and that she hoped the tournaments would reconsider their approach.

According to the tournament norms – it is mandatory for each player to do a press conference post their matches. Now with Osaka’s declaration – either have to change their rules or will have to bow to Osaka’s decision.

She added that she hoped the “considerable amount” that she expects to be fined will go towards a mental health charity.

Naomi Osaka later tweeted a video of former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch famously repeating the line “I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” at a pre-Super Bowl press conference in 2015.

Osaka has in the past used her platform and considerable press attention to highlight issues of police violence and racial inequality.

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