Naomi Osaka fined $15,000 for media boycott, warned about escalating consequences
The French Open plus the three other Grand Slam tournaments issued a joint statement on Sunday, announcing that world No. 2 Naomi Osaka has been fined $15,000 for skipping her media obligations following her Round 1 win against Patricia Maria Țig at Roland-Garros. Osaka was also warned about the consequences of continuing to skip media sessions, which could be a whole lot worse than a $15,000 fine.
Osaka said last week that she would not be participating in any of her contractually mandated media obligations during the French Open due to mental health concerns.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 26, 2021
Grand Slams warn Osaka of greater consequences
According to the statement, Roland-Garros first reached out to Osaka to discuss her concerns, and when they were unable to speak with her, all four Grand Slam organizations (the US Tennis Association, the All England Lawn Tennis Club, the French Tennis Federation, and Tennis Australia) reached out to her.
Following [Osaka's] announcement, the Roland-Garros teams asked her to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand the specifics of her issue and what might be done to address it on site.
Following the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialog on the issues. She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.
Osaka, who said she expected to be fined for not speaking to the media, was assessed a $15,000 fine for her actions on Sunday. She was also warned about the consequences of continuing her media blackout, which involve not just greater fines, but also tournament defaults and possible Grand Slam suspensions.
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 said the mental health of the players is a top priority of the Grand Slams, but chose not to describe any of the "significant resources dedicated to player well-being." The statement also emphasized that the rules are in place to ensure that "all players are treated exactly the same, no matter their stature, beliefs or achievement," and that the Grand Slams feel Osaka's media blackout gives her an "unfair advantage" over her competitors.
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