Naomi Osaka could be THROWN OUT of the French Open if she continues to refuse to speak to the media… as tournament chiefs warn she also faces ‘more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions’
- Osaka agreed to do her on-court interview after beating Patricia Maria Tig
- She was however hit with a £10,500 fine for not doing a post-match conference
- World No 2 cited mental health concerns over taking part in press conferences
- Grand Slam organisers also issued a statement warning her of her obligations
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Japan’s Naomi Osaka could be thrown out of the French Open if she continues to boycott post-match news conferences at the tournament, the board of Grand Slam tennis tournaments said on Sunday.
Osaka, who was fined $15,000 (£10,500) for skipping the news conference after her first-round victory at Roland Garros, could also face suspension from other Grand Slam tournaments, the board added.
The four-times Grand Slam champion said earlier this week she would not face the media during the French Open, citing mental health reasons.
Naomi Osaka could be thrown out of the French Open if she refuses to speak to the media
Osaka agreed to do her on-court interview after beating Patricia Maria Tig in the first round but was then fined $15,000 (£10,500) for refusing to attend her post-match press conference
‘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,’ the board of Grand Slam said in a statement.
‘As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament… and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions.’
The board reminded Osaka that ‘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’.
Osaka edged past Romanian Tig (above) with a 6-4 7-6 (4) victory on Sunday morning
It added that ‘the mental health of players competing in our tournaments and on the Tours is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams’.
Osaka said last week she will not give any news conferences during the Grand Slam because she wants to protect her mental health.
In a statement she said: ‘Hey everyone – hope you’re all doing well, I’m writing this to say I’m not going to do any press during Roland Garros.
‘I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.
Osaka released a statement earlier this week saying she would boycott the press at the French Open, citing mental health concerns as the reason behind her decision
‘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.
‘I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well. I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they’re down and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it.
‘Me not doing press is nothing personal to the tournament and a couple journalists have interviewed me since I was young so I have a friendly relationship with most of them.
‘However, if the organisations think that they can just keep saying “do press or you’re gonna be fined”, and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpeice of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh.
‘Anyways, I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity.’
THE STATEMENT IN FULL
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.
*The statement was made on behalf of; Jayne Hrdlicka, Tennis Australia Chair & PresidentGilles Moretton, FFT President, Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman and Mike McNulty, USTA Chairman of the Board & President
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