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Osaka fined, threatened with French Open expulsion over media boycott

Japanese star Naomi Osaka has been threatened with disqualification from the French Open if she continues her media boycott, officials said.

“We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences,” said a statement from the four Grand Slam tournaments on Sunday.

“As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament.”

World number two Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam title winner and sport’s highest-earning female athlete, was fined $15,000 on Sunday for refusing to hold a press conference after her opening win against Patricia Maria Tig.

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‘Mental health issue’

Osaka opened the first day of action at Roland Garros with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Romanian world number 63 Patricia Maria Tig.

The 23-year-old Japanese star, a four-time Grand Slam title winner, has refused to carry out media obligations at the tournament, claiming news conferences are detrimental to her mental health.

She believes traditional post-match inquests are akin to “kicking people when they’re down”.

Osaka wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday that she was not going to participate in the standard back-and-forth with the media in Paris — the sort of thing athletes in various sports do as a matter of course. 

She framed it as a mental health issue, saying that it creates self-doubt to have to answer questions after a loss.

Players at Grand Slam tournaments are required to attend news conferences if requested to do so; refusing is punishable by fines of up to $20,000.

READ MORE: Osaka’s Grand Slam dream proves a nightmare for Serena

‘A phenomenal error’

French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton described Osaka’s move as a “phenomenal error”.

“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 board of Grand Slam said in a statement.

The board reminded Osaka that “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”.

It added that “the mental health of players competing in our tournaments and on the Tours is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams”.

“For me, playing on clay is a work in progress,” said the reigning US and Australian Open champion on a sun-kissed Court Philippe Chatrier.

“Hopefully the more I play, the better I will become. It’s a beautiful court. I’ve only played two matches here, one before the roof and one now so hopefully I’ll keep it going.”
Osaka, who has never got past the third round in Paris, fired 39 winners but committed 35 unforced errors against Tig to set up a second round duel against another Romanian player, Ana Bogdan.

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World number two Naomi Osaka is fined $15,000 for refusing to hold a press conference after her opening win against Patricia Maria Tig at the French Open tournament.

Japan's Naomi Osaka celebrates after winning against Romania's Patricia Maria Tig during their women's singles first round tennis match on Day 1 of The Roland Garros 2021 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 30, 2021.
Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates after winning against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig during their women’s singles first round tennis match on Day 1 of The Roland Garros 2021 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on May 30, 2021.
(AFP)

Japanese star Naomi Osaka has been threatened with disqualification from the French Open if she continues her media boycott, officials said.

“We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences,” said a statement from the four Grand Slam tournaments on Sunday.

“As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament.”

World number two Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam title winner and sport’s highest-earning female athlete, was fined $15,000 on Sunday for refusing to hold a press conference after her opening win against Patricia Maria Tig.

READ MORE:
US Open players frustrated over Covid-19 measures after positive test

‘Mental health issue’

Osaka opened the first day of action at Roland Garros with a 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Romanian world number 63 Patricia Maria Tig.

The 23-year-old Japanese star, a four-time Grand Slam title winner, has refused to carry out media obligations at the tournament, claiming news conferences are detrimental to her mental health.

She believes traditional post-match inquests are akin to “kicking people when they’re down”.

Osaka wrote in a Twitter post on Wednesday that she was not going to participate in the standard back-and-forth with the media in Paris — the sort of thing athletes in various sports do as a matter of course. 

She framed it as a mental health issue, saying that it creates self-doubt to have to answer questions after a loss.

Players at Grand Slam tournaments are required to attend news conferences if requested to do so; refusing is punishable by fines of up to $20,000.

READ MORE: Osaka’s Grand Slam dream proves a nightmare for Serena

‘A phenomenal error’

French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton described Osaka’s move as a “phenomenal error”.

“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 board of Grand Slam said in a statement.

The board reminded Osaka that “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”.

It added that “the mental health of players competing in our tournaments and on the Tours is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams”.

“For me, playing on clay is a work in progress,” said the reigning US and Australian Open champion on a sun-kissed Court Philippe Chatrier.

“Hopefully the more I play, the better I will become. It’s a beautiful court. I’ve only played two matches here, one before the roof and one now so hopefully I’ll keep it going.”
Osaka, who has never got past the third round in Paris, fired 39 winners but committed 35 unforced errors against Tig to set up a second round duel against another Romanian player, Ana Bogdan.

READ MORE:
Osaka withdraws from WTA semi-final over police ‘genocide of Black people’

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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