Close to midnight Paris time on Wednesday, Naomi Osaka shocked the tennis world by announcing that she will not talk to the press at Roland Garros and is ready to pay fines for such a decision. The reason is that she wants to safeguard her mental well-being.
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. 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.
I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well. I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they’re down and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it.
The 23-year-old Osaka thinks it’s ridiculous that organizations are fining athletes that are the centerpiece of their events for not being willing to do press conferences. The WTA star is aware of the fact that she’ll get penalties for this decision, but she does not care, as long as she preserves her peace:
I hope that the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity.
Money is definitely not a problem for Osaka. She’s earned a female athlete record $55.2 million over the last 12 months, with $5.2 million from prize money and an estimated $50 million off the court.
This is not the first time that the young tennis ace is stepping up for her beliefs. At last year’s Western & Southern Open, Osaka pulled out before her semifinal against Elise Mertens in support of Black Lives Matter, only to be persuaded to show up in the final four the next day. (photo: Jimmie48)