Naomi Osaka on $15K French Open Media Fine: 'Change Makes People Uncomfortable'

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 30, 2021

Japan's Naomi Osaka celebrates after defeating 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

Naomi Osaka didn't speak to the media after her first-round victory at the French Open on Sunday, but she did share her thoughts on Twitter after she was fined $15,000 for her actions by Roland Garros. 

NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ @naomiosaka

anger is a lack of understanding. change makes people uncomfortable.

Osaka said Wednesday she wouldn't speak with reporters throughout the tournament for mental health reasons. She participated in an on-court interview after her win Sunday but did not hold a traditional press conference afterward, which is a violation of the media policy.

Roland Garros said in a statement Sunday that Osaka could be subject to further sanctions including suspensions and fines should she continue to avoid the media. 

Osaka could also face a default from the French Open. 

"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 in her statement. "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."

She said she was prepared to pay fines for her decision. 

In the statement, Roland Garros said it joined the Australian Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open in writing to the 23-year-old to "check on her well-being and offer support" while "reminding of her obligations [and] the consequences of not meeting them." 

Yet in a tweet on Saturday, the Roland Garros Twitter account singled out her decision in a now-deleted message, sharing photos of competitors speaking to the media. 

Analis Bailey @analisbailey

Naomi Osaka will not be speaking to media at the French Open.<br><br>Instead she’ll be receiving sub-tweets from the #Rolandgarros account. (Tweet now deleted.) pic.twitter.com/b83dpyXN1k

Several top tennis stars said they viewed media obligations as part of the job. The No. 2-ranked men's player, Daniil Medvedev, told reporters Friday that he has "no problems" speaking to reporters and would "try always to come to a press conference, bad mood or good mood," though he understood Osaka's decision.

The No. 1-ranked woman, Ash Barty, said she viewed it as "part of the job," while legend Rafael Nadal recognized the role the media played in advancing the sport. 

“Without the press ... probably we will not be the athletes that we are today,” Nadal said. “We [aren’t] going to have the recognition that we have around the world, and we will not be that popular, no?”

Osaka's next match comes Tuesday against Ana Bogdan.