Naomi Osaka fined $15,000 after refusing to attend press conferences at the French Open to protect her mental health
Naomi Osakawas fined $15,000 for not participating in a French Open press conference.
- She said last week that she wouldn't speak to the press in order to protect her mental health.
- Osaka responded to the fine: "Anger is a lack of understanding. Change makes people uncomfortable."
The fine was announced by Grand Slam organizers after Osaka's win over Romanian Patricia Maria Tig. While Osaka didn't attend a press conference, she still took part in a court-side interview after the win.
"Naomi Osaka today chose not to honor 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," Tennis Australia, the US Tennis Association, the French Tennis Federation, and the All England Lawn Tennis Club said in a statement shared by Roland-Garros stadium. "She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players."
The organizations said Osaka could face further discipline if she continues to refuse to speak with the press, adding that the protest could launch a "major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial
Osaka responded on Twitter by saying: "Anger is a lack of understanding. Change makes people uncomfortable."
The tennis star said last week that she would skip press conferences at the French Open in order to protect her mental health.
She said she expected to be fined and hoped the funds would be donated to a mental health charity.
"If the organizations think 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 centerpiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh," she said.
The tennis organizations that fined Osaka said that the mental health of athletes is "of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams."
"In order to continue to improve however, we need engagement from the players to understand their perspective and find ways to improve their experiences," the organizations said. "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."
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