Naomi Osaka fined for not speaking to the media at Roland Garros, risks failing for a new 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 leaders of the four Grand Slam tournaments – the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open – announced in a joint statement that she had been fined $ 15,000 for not speaking to the press after the first round and added that the repeated violations could lead to a default at Roland Garros 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 said. “As a sport, there is nothing more important than making sure that no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is 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 social media post on Wednesday that she felt the mental health of athletes was often overlooked and that at press conferences they were asked questions that “made us doubt and I just won’t care. submit to people who doubt me. . “

She noted that she expected to be fined “a considerable amount”, but added that she hoped the money would be used to improve mental health.

“If organizations think they can just keep saying ‘push it or you’re going to be fined’, and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes who are the centerpiece of their cooperation [corporation] so i just have to laugh, “she wrote.” Either way, hopefully the huge amount I get for this goes to a mental health charity. “

Osaka, the world No.2 player, did not speak to the media after winning her first round match at Roland Garros on Sunday against Patricia Maria Tig, prompting the tournament referee to fine and the organizers’ statement.

Executives said in the statement that they contacted Osaka ahead of the French Open to “check on their well-being and offer their support, underline their commitment to the well-being of all athletes and suggest a dialogue on the issues. “, while reminding her that she was contractually obliged 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 good of the sport, the fans and for themselves. “, says the press release. . “These interactions allow 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 individual player fan base. “

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