Naomi Osaka Fined $15K for Not Attending Post-Match French Open Press Conference

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVMay 30, 2021

Japan's Naomi Osaka serves the ball to Romania's Patricia Maria Tig during their first round match of the French open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium Sunday, May 30, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
AP Photo/Christophe Ena

Roland Garros fined Naomi Osaka $15,000 for her refusal to speak with reporters following her first-round win over Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday.

In a statement released following the match, Roland Garros said it has threatened additional sanctions against Osaka, including a default in the tournament and future Grand Slam suspensions, for further violations of the media policy.

Osaka announced before the 2021 French Open that she didn't plan to speak with reporters at the event, citing mental health reasons. While she did appear for her on-court interview after the match, Osaka did not follow up with reporters for her typical post-match press conference.

Roland Garros said it reached out to Osaka before the opening of the Slam in an attempt to address her concerns but did not hear back.

"Following the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialog on the issues. She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players," the statement read.

It would be fair to point out that the press release is contradictory in that Roland Garros said it cares about Osaka's mental health while threatening her with expulsion from the tournament for not performing a task she said jeopardizes her mental health. In her statement released on social media last week, the world No. 2 said she was prepared to pay fines and hoped they would be sent to a mental health charity.

"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," Osaka wrote. "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."

While it's fair to note there is an obligation athletes have to media—the coverage media provides for the event is valuable and in a roundabout way helps pay athletes—threatening one of the sport's most popular stars with a suspension probably isn't going to have the intended consequence.