Tennis officials fined world No. 2 player Naomi Osaka $15,000 on Sunday (May 30) for declining to participate in a mandatory news conference after her first-round victory against Maria Tig at the French Open, a statement from Roland-Garros tournament officials said.
Her continued refusal to speak to the media could bring more serious penalties. She risks defaulting from the French Open and “more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions.”
RELATED: She Did That! Naomi Osaka
The statement said, “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.”
The standoff began on May 26 when Osaka announced that she will not speak to the media at the French Open, citing a lack of concern for mental health during press conferences.
Osaka tweeted: “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. 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.”
Officials said that the players’ mental health “is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams,” adding that they have resources available for the athletes’ well-being.
“Anger is a lack of understanding. change makes people uncomfortable,” Osaka, 23, wrote in a cryptic message after she received the fine and warning.