Naomi Osaka did indeed skip her mandatory press conference following her first-round win over Patricia Maria Tig at the French Open and has been fined $15,000. Tournament officials are warning her that they could impose further sanctions if the Japanese continues to reject her obligations.
Press conference boycott
The world No.2 Osaka stayed for an on-court interview after her Sunday’s victory and exchanged a few words with Fabrice Santoro, former ATP player who works as a journalist at Roland Garros. However, in order to preserve her peace and mental health, the four-time Grand Slam champion didn’t show up in the conference room to answer media questions. The Roland Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine, in keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct.
On Wednesday, Osaka announced her decision to not talk to the press at this year’s French Open. Her stance received mixed reactions. People mostly understand her need to preserve her mental calmness and focus on tennis. Still, fellow top players such as Ashleigh Barty, Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal also understand that time dedicated to the media is a necessary part of their job and plays an important part in making tennis what it is today.
Further sanctions include default from Roland Garros and even future Grand Slam suspensions
Grand Slam tournaments issued a statement, saying that they contacted Osaka and checked on her well-being. They offered support and suggested dialog, but to no avail. They stressed that the rules are the same for all players and explained that showing up at mandatory media interviews is a responsibility which players take for the benefit of the sport, the fans and for themselves. As the WTA star stood by her decision, the tournament warned her that further, much tougher sanctions can be imposed:
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. 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 was signed by Jayne Hrdlicka, Tennis Australia Chair & President, Gilles Moretton, FFT President, Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman, and Mike McNulty, USTA Chairman of the Board & President.