Naomi Osaka said before the French Open that she would not speak to the media, citing mental health concerns.
On Sunday, the heads of all four Grand Slam tournaments: the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. announced in a joint statement which was fined $ 15,000 for not speaking to the press after Round 1, adding that repeated infractions could lead to a French Open default and possible future Grand Slam suspensions.
“We want to emphasize that there are rules to ensure that all players are treated exactly the same, regardless of their height, beliefs or achievements,” the statement read. “As a sport, there is nothing more important than making sure that no one player has an unfair advantage over another, which is unfortunately the case in this situation if one player refuses to spend time engaging in media engagements while the others they fulfill all their commitments. “
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Osaka said in a social media post on Wednesday that she felt athletes’ mental health is often overlooked and that during press conferences they are asked questions that “bring doubts to our minds and I’m just not going to submit. to people who doubt me.. “
She noted that she expected to be fined a “considerable amount” but added that she was hopeful the money would be used to improve mental health.
“If organizations think they can keep saying ‘push or they will fine you’ and continue to ignore the mental health of athletes who are the centerpiece of their cooperation [corporation] then I’ll laugh, “he wrote.” Anyway, I hope that the substantial amount fined for this goes to a mental health charity. “
Osaka, the world’s No. 2 player, did not speak to the media after winning her first-round match on Sunday at the French Open against Patricia Maria Tig, prompting the tournament referee’s fine and the declaration of the organizers.
The executives said in the statement that they contacted Osaka prior to the French Open to “verify his well-being and offer support, underscore his commitment to the well-being of all athletes and suggest a dialogue about the issues,” while reminding him that she was contractually obligated to speak to the media after the fact.
They said they all have significant resources dedicated to player wellness, but stressed that it is important for athletes to engage with them and share their perspective to help improve experiences.
“A central element of the Grand Slam regulations is the responsibility of the players to interact with the media, whatever the outcome of their match, a responsibility that the players assume for the benefit of the sport, the fans and for themselves.” the statement reads. . “These interactions allow both players and media to share their perspective and for players to tell their story. Enabling media to a wide range of channels, both traditional and digital, is an important factor in the development and growth of our company. sport and individual player fan base. “
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.