Tennis champion Naomi Osaka was fined $15,000 after announcing she would not give media interviews during the French Open, saying she prioritized her mental health instead.
The fines were announced in a joint statement on Sunday by the heads of organizations that organize the Grand Slams – the United States Tennis Association, the French Tennis Federation, the All England Lawn Tennis Club and Tennis Australia.
Osaka announced on social media Wednesday that she will not be attending a news event that Roland-Garros because she “always feels that people don’t care about the mental health of athletes”;.
Officials in the French competition asked “She reconsidered her position and failed to speak to her to verify her well-being,” but was unable to part with Osaka, according to a joint statement.
“Today Naomi Osaka chose not to fulfill her contractual obligations. A fine of $15,000 was issued to her under Article III H. of the Code of Conduct,” the statement said. “The mental health of the players who compete in our tournaments and on tour is of utmost importance for the Grand Slams.”
The four organizations said they had devoted “significant” resources to the well-being of players, but “to continue to improve. We need involvement from the players to understand their point of view and find ways to improve their experience.”
Osaka is at risk of exacerbating consequences if she continues to ignore her “obligations” through media appearances. An official statement said she could risk defaulting on a match and suspended from other matches due to repeated violations.
“We want to emphasize that there are rules to ensure that all players are treated the same. “As a sport, nothing is more important than ensuring that no player has an unfair advantage. which is unfortunate in this case If one of the players refuses to devote their time to participating in the media obligation while others respect their promises.”
Osaka, ranked second in the world, said on Wednesday she expected the fine and hoped the amount would be donated to mental health charities. She also said it was not a personal feud against the race. But she decided not to be subjected to repeated questions. which brings doubts in her
“If an organization thinks they can go on to say, ‘Make the news or you’ll be fined’ and still ignoring the mental health of the athletes at the heart of their company, I had to laugh.”
Osaka became a familiar name even outside the tennis world in 2018 after defeating Serena Williams in the US Open final, she admitted in an interview the following year that the Being driven into the limelight is difficult. And she shared some of the abuse she faced online on her social media.
“Last year I wasn’t even close to this rank. And people just ignore me and that’s where I feel comfortable,” Osaka said at a press conference after losing in 2019. “I don’t know why I’m crying. I don’t know why I don’t really like the attention, yes, it’s quite difficult.”
23-year-olds are often seen as shy or understated. But Osaka has become an outspoken advocate of social issues such as racial justice in recent years.
She told Vogue in an interview in December that she confused people because she couldn’t stick to her other labels. “The shy label has stuck with me throughout my career. Osaka said, “but I think the people who watched me grow would say I was better at navigating the situation. And I can express myself better.”