Naomi Osaka has been fined $15,000 after skipping her mandatory news conference following her first-round win at the French Open on Sunday and could face stiffer punishment, including default from the tournament, if she continues to avoid speaking to the media.
In a joint statement from the four Grand Slam tournaments, the organizations said they had written to Osaka after she announced she would not be participating in her media obligations during the fortnight and reminded her of the consequences stated in the 2021 rulebook should she opt out.
The four tournaments, which also include Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open, said there would be further and greater consequences if she continues to decline her media obligations.
“As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament (Code of Conduct article III T.) and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions (Code of Conduct article IV A.3.),” the statement read.
The Slams said the decision was a matter of fairness.
“We want to underline that rules are in place to ensure all players are treated exactly the same, no matter their stature, beliefs or achievement,” read the statement. “As a sport there is nothing more important than ensuring no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is the case in this situation if one player refuses to dedicate time to participate in media commitments while the others all honor their commitments.”
The organizations called the engagement of players with the media a “core element of the Grand Slam regulations” and an important part of the sport’s continued growth. The statement also referenced Osaka’s citing of her mental health in her decision to not speak with the media and said it was a priority of the tournaments.
The second-seeded Osaka defeated Patricia Maria Tig 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Court Philippe Chatrier on Sunday. She participated in an on-court interview following the victory and called her game on clay a “work in progress.”
Osaka tweeted after the match that: “anger is a lack of understanding. change makes people uncomfortable.”
anger is a lack of understanding. change makes people uncomfortable.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 30, 2021
She will face Ana Bogdan on Tuesday in the second round.