Naomi Osaka Announces She Won’t Be Speaking To Press At French Open with $15,000 Fine
orld number two, Naomi Osaka will not be attending any press events or taking any questions for The French Open, citing the affect they have on her mental health.
In a statement, Osaka said: “I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athlete’s 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 bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me,” Osaka said.
“Me not doing press is nothing personal to the tournament and a couple journalists have interviewed me since I was young so I have a friendly relationship with most of them.
“However, if the organisations think that they can keep saying, do press or you’re gonna be fined, and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centrepiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh,” she said.
Osaka also likened the effects of the press conferences after losses to “kicking a person while they’re down” citing videos of athletes who have broken down after a loss.
French Tennis Federation (FFT) president, Gilles Moretton, responded to Osaka’s decision, calling it a “phenomenal error.”
“It shows to what extent it is necessary to have strong governance,” Moretton said.
“What is happening is not, in my opinion, acceptable.
“It is tennis we want to promote,” he said.
Osaka will most likely be fined AUD$25,000 for every press event she does not attend, with Osaka saying she hopes the potential fines go towards a mental health charity.