Naomi Osaka fined $15K for skipping French Open media interviews

France Tennis French Open
Posted at 8:05 PM, May 30, 2021

PARIS — Naomi Osaka has been fined $15,000 for skipping the post-match news conference after her first-round win, according to a statement issued Sunday.

Osaka had announced last week she would not take part in press conferences and media interviews at Roland-Garros stadium over mental health concerns.

In a post on Instagram, the tennis star said she "often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health," and that press conferences can cause some to break down. "I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they're down and I don't understand the reasoning behind it," she continued.

Her post received positive comments and endorsements from other athletes and celebrities, including Nicki Minaj, Amanda Gorman, and Venus Williams - the fellow tennis star responded, "Girl, do you. Your life is yours to live."

The letter from Roland-Garros, representing the Grand Slam tournaments, said they tried to reach out to Osaka after her social media posts, but were not able to engage with her.

"A core element of the Grand Slam regulations is the responsibility of the players to engage with the media, whatever the result of their match, a responsibility which players take for the benefit of the sport, the fans and for themselves," the letterabout the fine reads. "These interactions allow both the players and the media to share their perspective and for the players to tell their story."

Osaka anticipated the fine, and in her post days earlier, said that she hopesthe money "will go towards a mental health charity."

In addition to the fine, the statement threatened Osaka with stiffer penalties by the four Grand Slam tournaments if she continues to avoid the media obligations players have.

"As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions," the letter reads.

The letter was signed by the heads of the U.S. Tennis Association, the French Tennis Federation, the All England Lawn Tennis Club, and Tennis Australia.